Have you found yourself backed into a corner of perpetual exhaustion and pressure?
The truth is, a path to freedom and peace often takes a detour through breakdown.
That breaking point is the catalyst for change. It forces you on a journey of reflection and growth.
"Never rob someone of their lowest low", a strange piece of advice I heard years ago, from a woman who navigated horrific circumstances to a thriving life she lived with gratitude.
Eight months ago, I had to take my own path through near burnout.
I'm grateful for this experience. And I'm grateful to finally have my peace back.
I still remember the pressure on my chest. Each night waking multiple times in sweats.
Exhaustion so familiar it almost didn't register as unusual.
It started in March.
I had sober conviction in my spirit that investing myself in multiple buckets was never going to bring the return on the life I had been entrusted with. It was not sustainable.
I could see some of those buckets were small and glittery. They filled frequently, they had amazing, inspiring results, frequent and bright. They were doing so much good for so many people! I needed to keep filling them!
When I looked over those small, glittery buckets (and they had genuine value and purpose), I realised they were taking the light from something far more humbling and important.
There was one very large bucket, filled only a small way, and it grabbed my attention. It felt a little too large. Much larger than my capacity. It would require grace and a lifetime of filling. I knew I had to pour into this.
Even so, I kept on doing everything. Trying to fill all buckets. There were too many people to let down.
Rushing from this to that. Pushing through on adrenalin.
July was the tipping point. I physically couldn't go on.
With no other way ahead, I made some big changes and let stuff go. Four months too late.
Letting go of the small, glittery buckets was painful and humiliating. It was like losing a part of my dignity.
The pain of exhaustion still lingered for weeks, in spite of the responsibility lifting. A hole in my purpose was glaring. I knew this would take time.
I knew I should have done it sooner.
But I knew I was made for more than this.
I started asking myself, what does a thriving, purpose-driven person do? How do they live their lives? I studied multiple stories of people whose lives I admired. Those who didn't just succeed, they lived full, relationally rich, purpose-driven lives.
I started to implement their habits. One habit particularly stood out.
September I started taking a personal day. Once a week. A Wednesday at a local, secluded beach. Just me, my notebook, bible, tea, snacks, no tech.
Nothing to achieve, all day to do it.
I barely even noticed the missing day in my busy week. Stuff just got done more easily, and with a bounce.
I started exercising. Sleep started to normalise. I had the strength to eat well.
And then it returned. That gentle, familiar lingering peace I had been missing for many months had finally come back.
I don't know what exactly triggered it.
Was it the natural passing of time, the healing that comes from the lifting of burdens I had carried for too long, the weekly personal day, my always-there-morning-cup-of-tea (and it was, always there), sleep, diet, exercise, or a that undeserving grace from a higher power. I can't say exactly. Perhaps all of the above.
Most likely so.
Whatever it was, I'm grateful. I've finally got my peace back.
I'm even grateful for the painful detour through near burnout. It brought me to this place of peace and a sustainable way forward to step into far greater things.