Contrary to what many of us in the ministry have been told, we can’t handle it all, nor should we. So how do we know when we are reaching our limits? There are signs our body gives us if we’re paying attention. For some the warning signs may be emotional. For others they might be physical, relational, or spiritual. But rest assured, if you are over capacity, you will soon find out— the hard way.
Sign #1: An Inability to Control Your Emotions
Unable to control our emotions and constantly feeling anxious, irritable, depressed, and overwhelmed are all signs that something isn’t right. Out-of-control emotions often reflect the out-of-control demands we put on ourselves.
Sign #2: Lack of Self-Care
People who operate at overcapacity rarely have time for self-care. If we already have a full plate of obligations and crazy commitments, the last thing most of us want to do is spend time planning healthy meals, working out, or taking care of our physical health or appearance. That just sounds like more work.
Taking care of yourself may seem selfish, but self-care is one of the most other-centered choices you can make in your life. That’s because you can’t live the life God created you for, with space to be aware of His leading, if you don’t take care of yourself.
Sign #3: Illness
Constant illness can be a sign of many things, and of course, you should see your doctor if you’re struggling in this area. But illness can also be your body’s warning to you that you need to make changes in your life.
Sign #4: Chronic Lateness
Chronic lateness is often caused by the tendency to say yes to too many activities and to too many people. It’s a crazy cycle of trying to be all things to all people. In the end, we can’t get anywhere on time or accomplish everything we say we will, and we end up disappointing everyone because the weight of it is all too much.
Sign #5: Self-Medicating and Excess
When the demands of life become too much, self-medicating is a very common response. It might also take the form of obsessive exercise, too many hours on social media, or watching a lot of television instead of getting much-needed sleep. Sometimes we can fool ourselves into thinking self-medicating is actually self-care — “I deserve that chocolate bar!” But if we find that our habits are directly related to stressful situations in our lives, we need to recognize those choices as a warning sign of busyness.
Sign #6: Neglecting Important Relationships
Do any of these sound familiar? “You’re always busy. You never have time for us anymore.”“Do you have to check your email now? We’re out to dinner.” “This is the third time you’ve canceled our date.”
Do you feel as if you are habitually letting down the people closest to you: your husband, children, close friends, family, and colleagues? It’s easy to feel guilty about these things. And once we start feeling just a twinge of guilt, it’s all over. The onslaught of pressure and guilt we heap on ourselves outweighs any positive feedback anyone else gives us.
Sign #7: Neglecting God
In the Bible, we often see that Jesus is busy doing the work His Father sent Him to do, living out His calling every day. But despite His busy schedule, Jesus is undeterred from daily reconnecting with God. He leaves cities with people unhealed, prayers unprayed, and work undone all so He can spend time with God. Neglecting God out of our own busyness, combined with any of the other signs— lack of self-care, chronic lateness, illness, self-medicating, and neglecting our important relationships — are all symptoms that we are off balance. These are not things to beat ourselves up over, but they are signs we should heed.
Taken from Breaking Busy by Alli Worthington. Copyright © 2016 by Alli Worthington. Used by permission of Zondervan.www.zondervan.com.