Come to me: two suggestions to rest your body and soul
by Ali Hoffman
North Texas Catholic
Can we talk about burnout for a quick second? Can we talk about the exhaustion that we’re all probably experiencing right now?
I was talking to a friend the other day who was actively telling me all her upcoming plans, all the things she accomplished in the last year, and as she was telling me this, her eyes had this glazed look. I asked her, do you feel at peace? At rest? “Honestly, Ali, I’m utterly exhausted. I’m tired all the time, but I have this fear that if I don’t keep up, somehow I’ll get behind.”
Isn’t that the case with a lot of people? This fear that if I don’t produce, don’t make something of myself, or am not productive, then somehow I’m falling behind? I certainly feel that. I took a two-month sabbatical last August after I left my job to rest and reset before stepping into what the Lord was asking me to do next. Midway through, I had this crippling fear that when I came out of this sabbatical, I had to prove that I didn’t “waste my time.” It was an anxious feeling that gripped my heart and had me panicking. I was so tired, yet I felt like I couldn’t stop; otherwise, life would pass me by. I had to use my own strengths to get stuff done.
During this internal battle, I was led in prayer one morning to Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Three words that stood out to me more than they ever had before: “Come to me.”
Was I feeling exhausted and under pressure? Did I feel this heavy burden to prove my life had meaning? Was my soul burdened under the barrage of feeling inadequate and useless? I had missed the remedy because I was constantly focused on how exhausted I was, or I was trying to use my own strength to combat those lies. The antidote, the remedy, the prescription was so simple: “Come to me.” In all my desires to use my gifts and talents in building up God’s kingdom and do His will, I was completely missing the one thing that He explicitly states will give me rest: COME TO ME.
I was missing Jesus.
I don’t know if you feel this way, but I am pretty sure I’m not alone in this. If you’re feeling exhausted, burned out, or just feeling like you’re behind in life, I want you to know: you’re not alone. I also want you to know there is a remedy for this feeling, this way of thinking. And it’s so simple: Jesus. Go. To. Jesus.
Some practical ways you can do that: Spend at least 10-15 minutes right when you wake up seeking God. This will look different for every person, but I read the daily readings every morning, journal my prayers and what I believe the Lord is speaking to me, and spend a significant amount of time in silence, just breathing and being in the presence of God.
Another suggestion is to sign up for a holy hour of Adoration at your local or neighboring parish. My weekly holy hour has significantly changed my life. I use this extended time to dream with God, read spiritual books, and learn what it means to just rest in His presence.
By implementing those two practical things, you’re actively telling your body and your soul who gives you rest. It’s not being MORE productive, MORE active, MORE go-getter. It’s telling your body there is only One thing that can give you rest, and that person is Jesus.
Can we talk about burnout for a quick second?