Burnout

Written by Tracy

by Phil Callaway

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I was trying to program my car radio a minute ago and I thought to myself: Can you believe how much technology is out there that I never asked for? I mean, who said we need split screen televisions, gas-powered blenders, and pants that talk? I’m not making this up. The pants are made in Great Britain. They say, “Zip me.”

What I’d like more than anything is to lie down for a full hour without a cell phone going off. This is the Aspirin Age and my head is pounding. We live in Tylenol Times, don’t we? I’ve been trying to program my VCR since 1986. I’ve been reading instruction manuals since 1982. If I had the time, I would sit down and write a letter:

Dear Guys Who Come Up With More Stuff:
“Please stop. We’re fine. We have enough RAM in our computers and enough room in our trunks. Our jets go fast enough. Please work on an invention that slows us down. That cures diseases. I’m still trying to figure out my e-mail.”
Signed, Frazzled in Suburbia

On the Alaska Highway is a sign: “Choose your rut carefully. You’ll be in it for the next two hundred miles.” I used to be in the rut of believing that an ultra-busy schedule equaled a Christian productive life. That the only godly Christian was one who lived inches away from a coronary. And I burned out. Big time. Three simple truths freed me from that rut and helped me find the pause button.

1. Laughter sure beats Prozac.
In the midst of my burnout, my youngest son pounced on me one night and began tickling me. When I hardly moved, he said, “Dad, you don’t laugh so good anymore.” There I was. A humorist who had lost his funnybone. But our funnybones are essential to balancing our perspective. Solomon called laughter “good medicine” because it adds richness and texture to our marriages, our lives, and our workplaces. Ask any boss what he or she is looking for in an employee and a sense of humor will rank high. Why? Because those who smile, shape the faces of others. Because, quite simply, those who laugh, last.

2. There’s a heavy penalty for resisting a rest.
A man sent his psychiatrist a postcard. It said: “Am having a great time on vacation. Wish you were here to tell me why.” While reading the story of Jesus, I discovered that He often took a break. No one in history accomplished more, yet He did so without acquiring an ulcer. Where did we get the notion that relaxation is selfish? That there is something spiritual about a nervous breakdown? Jesus created plant species that will not bear fruit if they do not lie dormant for a time. He told his disciples, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (Matt. 6:31). Such rest allows us to recharge our batteries and reorganize our priorities.

3. The greatest barrier to rest is a lack of trust.
When I was a boy, a verse hung in my parents’ bedroom: “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee” (Isaiah 26:3). I remember looking up at that verse during spankings! Although those were some of the first words I ever read, I’m just starting to understand them. Every time I lay awake wondering about tomorrow, every time I’m frustrated by the pace of the world around me, I must practice that trust. “Staying” my mind on God does not mean retreating from the real world, it means living in the real world with my mind centered on Christ. He alone can give us balance, joy, peace, and rest.

Now I better go. My wife dropped my Palm Pilot in the breadmaker.

Phil Callaway is a best-selling author and popular speaker.
Visit him at www.philcallaway.com

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