Burn-Out Messes With Your Kingdom Work (Plus, What You Can Expect Here Going Forward)

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The thing about burn out is that it messes with you.

It messes with who you are and it messes with your Kingdom work. Here’s why.

When you are burned out, your vision begins to blur and you don’t have the clarity you once did. You’re tired and you’re not sure if what you’re doing is of God or the devil or your own sin nature. You begin to lose your footing, and those balls you’re juggling begin to fall.

You fall with them.

You hit the ground hard and you’re hurting, but you think, “I’ve got to get up and keep going because I have commitments and deadlines and promises and…” an endless list of reasons why you shouldn’t, why you can’t get a break.

You are dying for rest and clarity and Lord am I doing what you want?

You feel stuck. You’re not sure what to do. But whatever this is, isn’t working.

This is burn out.

And it is here that you choose your path.

Will you stay with the jugglers and the doers and the limping-out-of-exhaustion ones, or will you reclaim your life? We don’t reclaim our lives for only for ourselves; we reclaim our lives in order to live free and available and ALIVE so that we can be effective in the Kingdom.

I haven’t read it yet, but I image there are some wise strategies in The Best Yes for helping you to say no in order to say yes to the good things, the life-giving things, and your people. No one else is going to tell you what to do; here and now you decide whether or not you are going to own your life.

Friends, I have learned the hard way. I have not only been burned out, but it has taken me YEARS to learn how to own my life so that I can live well and happy. I’m happy. I know “happy” isn’t always the Christian thing to say, but I am happy; I am joy-filled because I am free.

Finally.

And moving forward I am going to try and stay free by counting the cost and trusting God with how He made me.

With that said, I bring you what gives me life and what you can expect from me in the future…

What Gives Me Life

Being in the quiet with God and His Word, a cup of coffee in hand, and a journal on my lap

Being intentional as a mother, doing things that I know build into my children

Making a home (NOT synonymous with cleaning)

Time and good conversation with dear friends

Writing and speaking for the JOY of it and to encourage other women to keep on. Life is hard enough, we shouldn’t go it alone and we all need as much encouragement as we can get! “But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” (Hebrews 3:13)

What You Can Look Forward to at SarahMae.com

First of all, let me just invite you to pull up a chair and kick your shoes off. {Exhale}

WELCOME.

I have found such freedom over the past year as I’ve learned to see God for who He is and see myself as His daughter who He delights in. I believe God takes pleasure when we let ourselves be loved by Him. It’s a really lovely thing when you can be happy with who you are. There have been times in the past when I was very neurotic with my writing. What if it’s not good enough? What if I’m a fraud? I should blog more. I should know more. I wish I wrote like her. I’m no good. Maybe I should just quit.

No more of that.

I mean, maybe sometimes those things will creep in, but I don’t want to be anyone else. I love God and I love that He loves me and intimately made me who I am, weaving me together with purpose and love. With that said, I’m going to do things on this blog that bring me life. For instance…

Prettiness! I’m going be re-designing my blog so that I like seeing it and it brings beauty to you all. Like a journal or a book, I want to be writing and reading in a space that feels warm and inviting and also invigorating. I also want you all to have a good experience while you’re hanging out with me, so I will try and make things as simple as possible as far as navigation and such goes. The design should be in effect sometime in February.

Sporadic writing. Because I’m writing here for the joy of it and to encourage you, I will only write when I feel inspired to write. Maybe that will be every day. I don’t know yet. But I can tell you this, I won’t write just to make words, because that kind of writing is filler and it doesn’t bring relief to people. I want to be a writer that brings an offering of relief and encouragement to the soul, and I can only do that when I’m writing from my own well (more on that later). In addition to these things, I am taking on Emily Freeman’s fantastic list on how she plans on staying sane on the Internet (bravo Emily!). Here it is:

  • I will tell stories.
  • I will be myself.
  • I will remember it’s “better to write for yourself and have no public than write for the public and have no self.” (Cyril Connolly)
  • I will refuse to romanticize the writing life.
  • I will write to connect, not compete.
  • I will remember fear is a normal part of the process, but courage gets the final say.
  • I will remember how ego feels pushy and afraid but calling feels kind and free. Most of the time.
  • I will remember people write online for a million little reasons and I will respect them theirs.
  • I will practice writing words I can’t take back.
  • I will refuse to write from a frantic place of hurry.
  • I will be gentle with myself when I choose to hurry anyway.
  • I will be relentlessly helpful to the souls of others.
  • I will write as a kind companion rather than a truth machine.
  • I will let love lead.
  • I will not be a jerk.

Good stuff, right? You should read the whole thing here.

Video courses. NOW WAIT. I know that courses are all the rage and some people are so pushy about their courses that you feel like stabbing them in the eye. No, that’s just me? Kidding. I don’t want to stab anyone in the eye. But just like you I get frustrated with anything bombarding me. BUT I don’t think that means that the medium should be to blame. Just like blogging, courses are a way to communicate, and for me it’s a way to communicate through video that is focused on a particular topic. I will only do courses when I have something from my own “well” to pass on to you. Be not afraid. When I have a course, I’ll tell you about it but I will not bombard you with emails. :)

I think that’s it for now. Sound good to you? Sounds good to me!

Here’s to a BEAUTIFUL, wonderful, INSPIRING, pleasurable, WIDE-AWAKE, freedom-filled, NEW YEAR!

“O taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!” Psalm 34:8

Love, SM

What I Learned From My Year Off:

Part 1: We are Not the Providers, God Is

Part 2: Counting the Cost

Part 3: I’m Still Me

Part 4: If You Are Burned Out, You Will Not Be As Effective in the Kingdom

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What I Learned From My Year Off, Part 3: I’m Still Me!

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Here I am (with the lovely and talented Allison Vesterfelt) getting to be a part of something that will help so many release the color in their souls! (I’ll be telling you all more about this soon!)

I had this idea in my head that if I quit for a year I would not only be happy and content as a homemaker and homeschoolin’ mama, but that I would excel at it.

Turns out, I don’t excel at homemaking (understatement of the year if we’re talking about cleaning), and I while I love homeschooling my kiddos, I’m not awesome at it. Or maybe I am. You’ll have to ask my kids in a few years.

As for happy and content? Mostly. But only mostly.

Because it turns out, there is this color that God put in me that I can’t stuff away or make black and white. This color in my soul that lights me up (and Lord willing, glorifies Him) when I let it out. What is this color? It is the color of my personality and my gifts and what God put inside me before the creation of the world so that I would be a part of bringing God’s Kingdom to bear on this earth.

That’s right, good works given to me to do in advance, which I can only assume correlate with how He made me because I am compelled to do them. Or, said in another way, how He made me can be used in the good works He’s planned for me. And since I’m clay and He’s the potter, I’m going with it!

I’m accepting who I am and the color God gave me because I believe when I am fully me He is fully glorified.

What does this mean practically?

It means that I will have anchors in place to help me keep focused on my time with God, my home and my family and living out of who God made me to be (which, incidentally, fills my soul. God is so kind). Some of my anchors include: Journaling, praying, and scripture reading sometime in the morning before the day gets carried away. Bible reading with my kiddos (curled up on the couch all snugly), chores and school, and then COLOR (soul-time!), and then life and then tea time with reading (comfy pillows and snacks; my kids love this), more life and daily living and COLOR and then dinner and life and bedtime reading in my bed with the babes cozied up around me. Then, BEDTIME, which equals (once the babes are actually in bed) COLOR!

Mostly, I am just living life by holding on tight to grace and begging God for Holy Spirit power to help me get the days done well and with fun (fun is so good for souls). When I get the anchors in, there is so much more freedom in my heart to do other things, like write and speak.

And so I don’t forget, I have to say that one of the good works that God prepared in advance for me to do is to mother my children! That is a good work! And I am thankful to have the opportunity to use the color God gave me to do just that: love and raise my babies. Isn’t that encouraging knowing that our good works are sometimes right in front of us?

There is, of course, so much to say about all of this, and I do! I say it in my new book, which doesn’t come out until August! Ha! Sorry. More on that later. :)

So here I am, doing my best to trust God with all of it, make wise decisions, and just enjoy who I am. Probably what most of you are trying to do as well. So glad for that. It’s wonderful not go at this life alone.

“Listen to the rhythm of your own timing.”

-Tales of the Kingdom

Love, SM

What I Learned From My Year Off:

Part 1: We are Not the Providers, God Is

Part 2: Counting the Cost

Part 3: I’m Still Me

Part 4: If You Are Burned Out, You Will Not Be As Effective in the Kingdom

 

P.S. The Own Your Life Webcast replay is available to watch now! Just head HERE.

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Own Your Life in 2015 (Plus a Giveaway of Sally Clarkson’s NEW Book!)

UPDATE! The Own Your Life Webcast replay is NOW AVAILABLE. Click HERE to watch it!

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It’s a great mail day when your mentor’s book gets delivered!

Today is the day!

Sally’s NEW book Own Your Life: Living with Deep Intention, Bold Faith, and Generous Love is NOW available!!!!!!

“God has given each of us a unique cup, so to speak. A unique personality, a unique stewardship…and yet the only person who can drink our portion well is ourselves. And I want to encourage and inspire you in this book to think through, what is the portion that God has given you as a part of your life? How does He want you to drink it faithfully every single day?”

As you can imagine, I’m thrilled, because Sally and her words have provided such wisdom over the years. I have personally been deeply impacted by her, and particularly by this “own your life” message, something she has been instilling in me for the past few years. And friends, once you really grasp the concept, it’s a game-changer.

I am so excited for her to pass this message onto you! You really must, must, MUST get this book. Here is a portion of the foreword I wrote for it:

“Sally taught me that a wise woman, that a wise person, takes responsibility for their choices and understands that “each person has the power and authority to bring his or her life back into order; we are stewards of the days allotted for our lifetime…”

Friends, Sally has done the work; she is a woman who has walked faithfully and with integrity throughout the seasons of her life, and she has words that are worth being heeded.

Her gracious admonishment to own our lives and leave a legacy that matters is not just a sweet encouragement, it is a life-changing call to live for God with all of who we are and all the choices we make. And furthermore, Sally doesn’t just tell us to own our lives, she tells us how we can do that.

And I’m first in line for this message, and I’ll be last in line as well, because I need these words. We all do, because our lives matter, because God has a story for us to live for His Kingdom.

And to live it, we must be willing to own our lives.”

Free Webcast!

TONIGHT, in a FREE webcastSally, myself, Crystal Paine, and Angela Perritt are going to share with you how we are learning to own our lives and how you can own your life in 2015. UPDATE: Watch the replay HERE.

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Here is some of what we’ll be talking about:

  • Learning to love who God has made you, leaving guilt and inadequacy behind
  • Living into the generous, abounding and unconditional love of God
  • Finding peace, rest and strength to live the life God has given you
  • Discovering the ministry moments God has designed for you to engage in every day
  • Finding contentment right where you are, single, married or somewhere in between
  • Building a home environment that gives life to all who come there
  • Becoming the friend and lover of all, that God created you to be
  • Embracing your ministry of parenting and learning how to do it with grace
  • Building a long term story of faithfulness in your marriage
  • Leaving a legacy of a strong faith, generous love, an intentional life

In addition to the webcast, I am also hosting a book club for Own Your Life that begins on the 12th, so GET YOUR COPY QUICK! All the info on the club can be found HERE.

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Giveaway!

I have FOUR copies of Own Your Life up for grabs today! WOOT!

To enter, just fill out the form below! Good “luck”! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Love, SM

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What I Learned From My Year Off, Part 2: Counting the Cost

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Being with my little people is my favorite

I’m a jumper.

I get an idea, and I’m all, “Yes! Right now, I’m going to do this!” And then life happens, and I don’t. Or I do, and life happens, and oh shoot I shouldn’t have done that. 

I have failed so many times do this one very wise, very practical thing: count the cost.

I remember calling Sally up a couple of years ago with one of my brilliant ideas and telling her we should go for it and we should start right away. Sally, in her wise and gracious and mothering way said, “Have you counted the cost? I have to think about.

What? Count the cost? But it’s a great idea, and someone needs to do it!

We never did it, whatever it was. I don’t even remember.

Then I had a friend of mine challenge me by saying, “Why do you always have to fill your plate as soon as you take something off it?” Huh. Good question.

It was these two women that started the pondering over the decisions I made and my inability to just be.

Right before I took my year off, I was going to start a new website. My husband and I made plans, bought domains, and dreamed together. During this time I was also stressed with all I was doing. I was writing a book, homeschooling, helping with a conference, blogging, and…I don’t even remember. But because I was no longer the owner of the conference, I thought, I can do this whole new thing! The problem was, the reason I stopped doing the conference was because it was too much and my life was being sucked away from me. So what did I do? Add something new that would have been almost as stressful and life-draining!

I didn’t do the site. I decided to go slower when it came to making decisions.

And then, in January, I decided to take a whole year off to think and pray and get some things straight. Which, by the way, was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

During that year, the lesson about counting the cost was further ingrained in my heart.

Counting the Cost is Wise and Practical

I only had one thing to do that was required of me and was outside my home: finish my book.

I had walked away from everything else: blogging, helping with the conference, and speaking. But I had to finish the book that the gracious folks at Tyndale had contracted me to write nearly THREE YEARS AGO. No pressure. And let me tell you, writing a book takes so much of me, on top of the fact that I’m a slow as molasses writer when it comes to writing books. Also, there’s the ADD thing. 50,000 words on the same topic? I think not. I write too slowly and my mind moves on before I’ve given myself to the depth.

But I’m learning and growing in this area, sticking with something in order to go deeper with it.

Let’s just say that the second half of this past year was very stressful as I was working to finish the never-ending, completely evolving elusive book. December was particularly difficult because I pretty much rewrote the whole thing in a month. I thought I was going to die.

Why am I telling you this? Because I have learned so much about my capacity, what gives me life and what drains it, and the importance of knowing how to be a women of integrity. All of this has to do with counting the cost.

At this point in my life, I don’t have a super capacity. I must choose carefully where I spend my time and give my energy. I have to know what gives me life and what takes it away. I need to count the cost to see if going forward makes sense for who I am, my family, and my time. It is for this reason that I will not write another book unless two things happen: 1.) God fills my well with a story that I am to share and have the depth needed to share it (integrity in writing), and 2.) I have the time and capacity to write it well. At this point, after my newest one releases in August, don’t count on me putting out another 50,000 word book for a few (or more) years. eBooks I’m good with. Long books, not so much.

Caveat: I am extremely thankful and excited to share with you all the book that I have written, that is truly from the well God has filled. I believe so much in the message, and I’m praying you will be encouraged and inspired to keep on in this life as you taste and see the goodness of the Lord right where you are. 

I have also learned that I love blogging; it gives me life! When I blog for the joy of it and to encourage others, it fills my soul. I also love encouraging women through the use of video; my communication style is really speaking because you can hear my voice and tone and see my expressions and I just love that. This is the color in me that God gave and it is a joy to live it out.

But I also have these precious people in my home that get to come first. I have my husband who is my partner and we choose our life together. It isn’t about me or him, it’s about us. So we move forward together. And then there is my children, my precious little souls who I have the responsibility of raising and teaching and discipling. Motherhood is a heavy, beautiful, intricate gift and it requires much of me. Oh yes, if I can’t be there for my children to minister to them first, what’s the point? I will have no integrity to teach. So I’ll count the cost before saying yes to outside opportunities (Jesus, help me for I am prone to wander). I’ll weigh everything, alongside my husband, in order to discern what is good and wise. We will count the cost.

And then there’s the neighborhood that God put me in. The people here matter to me. I want to invest where I am.

All this to say, is that I have some plans, some slowly thought-over, counting the cost plans that I will share with you in another post (as this one is getting to be too long already).

But know this, I have learned some painful lessons by not counting the cost, and Lord willing, I won’t make those mistakes again.

Love, SM

What I’ve Learned From My Year Off:

Part 1: We Are Not the Providers, God Is

Part 2: Counting the Cost is Wise and Practical

Part 3: I Am Still Me

Part 4: If You Are Burned Out, You Will Not Be As Effective in the Kingdom

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Four Things I Learned From Taking a Year Off, Part 1: We Are Not the Providers, God Is

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My man doing his wood-working thing

It’s a wonder how fast a year goes.

When I made the decision last January to take a year off from the public life, I made it because I felt a heaviness at the thought of regretting my life. More specifically, regretting my mothering years. I wanted to make sure I gave my best to the people God had directly put in my care; I needed to step back and take time off in order to get my priorities in order and to rest and be fully with my family.

And while this year was full of togetherness and intention and rest, it was also full of so much more. I’d love to share some of those things with you. Today I share part 1.

We Are Not the Providers, God Is

After telling my husband that I decided to quit for a year, we both had to face the reality that our lives were going to change because our income would be significantly reduced. But we would be fine because we have always lived off of his income (for the most part) and he had a steady job that brought home the bacon. We might not be able to afford the extras, but we’d make it.

Plus, getting de-stressed, being able to focus on mothering and homeschooling and homemaking, and supporting my husband as he uncovered and pursued some of his God-given longings was worth it to me.

And then came August.

My husband took a HUGE jump of faith and did something my steady, rock of a husband said he’d never do: he went self-employed.

That’s right, he quit his secure, health-insurance paying job and decided to follow the stirring in his heart. But it wasn’t a selfish thing, it was an offering from the Lord for my husband to begin again. You’ll learn more about his story and our adventure of faith in my upcoming book, but for now I want to focus on the fact that we now had no steady income.

Oh, my husband is wise and he was careful before leading our family on this new adventure, but as it is with self-employment, guarantees are much less to come by.

But bills add up and expenses increase (hello health insurance) and life gets a little tighter.

As my husband’s stress level increased, my natural inclination to rescue kicked in. I can earn the money, I can help us, I will make things better.

Except that not only did I not feel the freedom in my heart to jump in and rescue, the times I tried seemed thwarted. On top of that, any trickling income I did have had all but disappeared. And there it was, in the quiet of my heart: wait on the Lord and trust Him for your needs.

The Lord would provide for us. I didn’t need to rescue.

And you know, even during the hardest times when no work was in sight, we were okay, we always had enough. And work would show up last minute.

Through this experience, we have learned so much about depending on and trusting in the Lord for our needs. At one point, to encourage us, the Lord brought a timely word from George Müller, and it was this:

My dear brother, it is not your work that supports your family, but the Lord.”

It is God who takes care of us, no matter what happens to us financially or otherwise. He is kind and good and cares for us. Further more, it has been cemented in my heart that the Lord’s love language is not money. If we were to lose everything, we’d be okay, because we have Him.

So this year, I learned in a deeper way that the Lord is our provider, and we can trust Him as we walk by faith in this journey.

The Next Three Parts:

Counting the Cost is Wise and Practical

I Am Still Me

If You Are Burned Out, You Will Not Be As Effective in the Kingdom

Love, SM

P.S. TOMORROW is the FREE Own Your Life Webcast over at Sally’s blog; do come join us? Click here for information!

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