How can I keep myself from becoming too busy and burning out?
If we feel good only when we are working and become restless when we are just being with family, friends, or ourselves, then we are out of balance. If, on the other hand, we enjoy “just being” but see work as nothing more than a chore to avoid or to finish as quickly as possible, then too we are out of balance. It is only when we derive a sense of purpose in our work—both paid and volunteer—that our personal sense of self is positively affirmed. But in equal measure our experience of leisure pursuits, both alone and with others, should affirm our sense of self and thereby renew our energy for the work awaiting us.
Life balance happens when our identity is well established, our work life is meaningful, and we feel comfortable about who we are in relation to God, others, and ourselves. There are other factors that affect our life balance, such as age, health, or various disorders such as depression or chronic pain. There are also areas not under our control that have to do with the life circumstances of those we love and/or live with.
But to the degree that it can depend on us, we can change if we are motivated. Still, habits die hard, and change requires discipline. It helps to seek change along with others who can encourage us and hold us accountable.
Our sense of well-being, experienced through who we are and what we do, can be affirmed only if we feel secure. Feeling secure is not dependent on our status in life, our finances, our health, our age, or our looks. We instinctively know that any of these things cannot guarantee lasting security. Looks and status fade with age, finances shift with market fluctuations, and health can turn on a dime. The only lasting sense of security comes when we trust not only that God is in charge, but that in love God also desires our best. When our trust in God’s love transcends our experience, our sense of security is a gift that can undergird the life balance we seek.