Burn-out & Value

Unfortunately, a lot of us tie our value into what we do.

A few nights ago, I sat on our bed and cried after a fight because I just knew I had failed as a wife (just 2 and a half weeks in). I have barely slept since we got married, bordering exhaustion, and we just had a huge (likely unnecessary, thanks to me) fight. I looked around at all I hadn’t accomplished since getting married, all the ways I didn’t live up to my own expectations, and I knew I was a terrible wife.

But what was this value as a wife based on?

What I had accomplished (or not)…and being newly married and down with a horrible flu, I honestly should have had more grace for myself regarding expectations.

But, we do that so often, don’t we? We base our value on what we do/can do, and what we know.

When we feel like we fall short of expectations of ourselves and our tasks and our abilities, we can be in danger of burn-out. When we have an idea that we aren’t good enough, or we aren’t making a difference, it can be tempting to give up.

Sometimes, we even strive for perfection or expertise…but do you know what it takes to be an expert (and even they aren’t perfect). It takes:

  • Time: Hours and hours of study & experience.
  • Deliberate practice: intentional, again.
  • Tap into resources: coaches and mentors. Find those who are doing it well, and learn from them.

Doing always gets the best results. And, we can’t do if we burn-out early and quit.

If we feel our results aren’t what we want, especially early on in the process, we can be tempted to give up. If we aren’t changing lives, if we aren’t a success over night, if our kids are still holy terrors in public. We can be tempted to say, “this wasn’t for me”, and quit.

Our value, when tied to what we do and how well we do it, is on shaky ground. It is unfixed.

How many of us know the unfortunate fluctuation of our value being tied to something else that fluctuates (which can be more than what we do; it can be who we are around, money we have, etc.)?

Our value, however, is innately tied to who we are.

Who we are is not: what we do, how much money we have, who we spend time with…

Who we are is: people. We are people Created by God. Humanity.

Not one of us is outside the reach of the salvation power of the Cross (unless we choose to be). Christ died for each of us.

That is were our value comes from. That is the reason we wake up each day & get out of bed.

For that reason, when we fall short of our own expectations, when we don’t do well at work, when people aren’t changing overnight just by interaction with us, we can still move forward and do what we have been called to do.

Teachers keep teaching, even though they are underpaid and overworked. Not because their value is in their money or succeeding everyday. When a teacher truly understands their value and what they offer, they trust the good that will come, and they keep going, finding ways to resist burn-out.

Therapists, when their value is tied to clients succeeding week to week, notes getting done in a timely fashion, and having a $100,000 practice within months, will hit burn-out faster than all get-out. But, when they recognize their own compassion, the work they put in, and rest in their value, they have the energy to persevere and make a difference.

So, lets go back to me, on the bed, after the fight.

Tears on my face, convinced I’m already a horrible wife. I am not going to quit because of one exhausted cry. My actual value is not determined by my lack of success while I had the flu. But, in that moment, it sure what hard to remember.
My wonderful husband did his best to quiet my concerns and remind me of how valuable I was to him because of who I am, not what I could or couldn’t do in that moment. He said, “I wish you could see what I see”.

The truth is, he is seeing much more closely to how God sees.
If only I could see how God sees, I would have the energy to persevere.
If only we could see our value as God does, we would be more resistant to burning out, because our source of everything would be Him.
If only we could see as God does, we’d have a different view of the world, of success, and of purpose, and we’d be able to wake up and fight one more day.

Value is only one aspect of burn-out. During my next post, I will discuss another facet of burn-out, how it relates to value, and how it can move forward your [helping] profession or ministry.

Where do you find your value? Have you learned to base it on Him, or do you still struggle in this area? Let me know below, and as always, let me know if there are any ways I can pray with you.

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