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Thursday, February 14, 2013

On the Reasons for Exhaustion

I feel like I'm breaking some Valentine's Day rule by not posting gooey things about the love of my life.

Here it is: I love him. He loves me. Not a secret. Moving on.

What's really on my mind is that The Boy and I have been exhausted lately.

Not just tired or worn out. but dead exhausted. Fall asleep by 8:30 pm, drag-yourself-out-of-bed the next morning kind of exhausted.

It's ridiculous.

We were talking about this the other day. Actually, we were riffing on the topic as an off-the-cuff commentary on a rhetorical question.

Why are we so tired?

Of course, we covered the basics:
  • We're sleeping enough.
  • Work is busy, but not overwhelming.
So what's going on?

Our conclusion? We're experiencing the release of stress.


Is life perfect? No...but when it life ever perfect?

Note: If you're waiting for a perfect life, I suggest you have an internal reckoning of what "perfect" really is.

For The Boy and I, "perfect" looks a lot like this:
  • New jobs are becoming more routine and less new.
  • We're consistently under budget every month (yay, pantry purging!), which means more money into the sinking funds and less money out to bills.
  • The Boy is progressing rapidly though PT. Our fears of a ruined-forever thumb have disappated.
  • Dr. Jim helped us get unstuck.
  • We see financial goal advancement on the near horizon.
  • Life is more in balance - less "everything else" and more "what's important now."
  • Funds are nearly in place for a trip to X-land...this year!
  • We've made peace with several years-long lingering heartaches.
In short, we're started to experience life again, rather than having life happen.

How does this relate to exhaustion?

The Boy's theory is this: living again...breathing again...releasing stress has left us exhausted.

What does that mean?

I think it means that stress is a burden that weighs us down.

Americans live in a culture of stress - in fact, that's one of two typical answers to the question "How are you?" (Answers: I'm busy. or I'm stressed.)

While we may brag on our ability to handle stress, or even claim to thrive under stress, the truth is that stress is a burden not meant to be carried long-term.

For The Boy and I, we carried stress for seven years.


Can we just agree that this isn't healthy? If we used the life stressors self-assessment, our stress chart would look something like this:

Not good.

Now that the "not good" is fading away - either due to time or our intentional efforts to move beyond it, the release of this constant pressure hasn't left us with a feeling of being free.

It's left us exhausted.

Tired from a burden carried far too long. Thank God for faith, friends and family (though all three of those things contributed in some part to our stress...but that's a story left untold for now). Without those, we'd probably be dead.

Instead, we're tired.

So we're trusting that this feeling of exhuastion is yet another season of life.

You know, I've always loved Matthew 28:11:
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
But I really love the way this verse is paraphrased in The Message:

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Learning to live freely and lightly? Experiencing the unforced rhythms of grace?

I'm in.


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