I tried to hide it, but after a while it oozed out. Against all my resolve to “pray and serve” it away. The work, overwork, obsessive caring, disappointments, denial, exhaustion, pretending, pain, threatened relationships, physical illness, confusion, and isolation spun into burnout. Not my plan.
It led to the loss of a career, my dreams, my personhood, emotions and normal thinking processes. (I thought I’d never have a complete understandable thought again.) I felt abandoned by God and other people. And I’m supposed to “give thanks in all things!” How could I possibly say thank you for this?
Yet, after admitting my need, seeking help, readjusting my mis-beliefs about life, ministry, work and God–and learning new habits–I quietly, timidly started to say, “Yes, Lord, surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish.” (*Isaiah 38:15-19)
The career/ministry/relationship burnout (yes, all three! They overlapped.), the failing business, the pain and numbness forced me to admit my need, and regardless of the consequences, do something about it. Not with elation or pride did I or do I now say, “Thanks.” It was not a pleasant way to learn! Yet God restored me to health and let me live. And only the living can praise or thank him. Even though it’s “ironic gratitude”, I amgrateful.
If your hope is fading, God IS. . . He’s not mad at you. He’s waiting for you. He will restore you. Even though you can’t feel Him–perhaps only your head (and not your heart) knows His love at the moment. Reach out your hand. He’s right there. Join Him in the healing process. There is HOPE. You’ll get your life back.
* Isaiah 38:15-19: “You restored me to health and let me live. Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from…destruction… The living, the living—they praise you, as I am doing today.”
YOUR TURN FOR UNLIKELY THANKS?
What unlikely thing are you quietly grateful for this Thanksgiving?
Joan C. Webb
Writing, teaching, coaching to empower and set free.