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Are you Burned Out Yet?

By Leslie Vernick

“I’m angry, hurt and tired.” Jane said, flopping her weary frame down on my couch. “It seems like I’m the only one doing all the preparations for making our holiday a nice one. If it weren’t for me, we’d have no tree, no presents, no cookies, and no Christmas dinner. But, you know, it’s not only the holiday’s that I feel this way. I feel like I carry the entire responsibility for everyone’s life to go well. Am I being selfish that I want someone to care about me and my needs once in awhile?

Maybe about now, you’re starting to feel the Christmas frazzle and you’re heading for burnout. Let me assure you that you are not selfish for wanting someone to notice that you are a person and not just a machine that makes sure everything go well for the people in your life. That said I find many women in Jane’s predicament. You over-function which enables the other people in your life to under-function. That’s fine once in a while or when there is a specific crisis, but when that becomes “normal routine” for a family, marriage or even workplace, it can lead to disaster.

You are not doing anyone any favors by allowing everyone else to think you can do it all while they relax on the couch watching television, sit in front of the computer playing games, or do their own fun things. It only enables selfishness to flourish and for your resentment and bitterness to grow – a lose/ lose pattern.

So how do we change this pattern? It starts with you. You have to be willing to relinquish control of everything and how things are going to be. Next, speak up to whoever your change will affect. Take entire responsibility for over-functioning (don’t blame your family) but you are no longer going to continue. Tell them that you are tired and starting to feel angry and resentful toward them and don’t want to have those negative feelings so YOU are going to change. You let go of control of how it’s going to be and then spell out what you are no longer going to do specifically. For example for the holidays coming up you might say something like this:

“Hey guys, I need to apologize for being so crabby lately. I think the reason I get that way is that I feel like I have to do everything in order to make it a nice Christmas for you all. But then it’s not a very nice Christmas when I get upset and resentful is it? So I’d like to simplify the decorating – I’m going to get an artificial tree so it’s not a hassle going out and cutting one down and I’m not going to bake anymore. It’s just too much work and I don’t want to feel resentful that you guys don’t want to chip in to help. I think my expectations were too high and those things just aren’t important to you so I’m going to let them go.”

Now, you HAVE to mean it if you say it. Here’s what will happen next. If those things are important to them and they do want a real tree or home baked cookies, then they can offer to take responsibility or help to make sure they happen. If they don’t, then you must LET THEM GO in order to demonstrate that you will not carry the entire load anymore. Until your husband or children experience the consequences when you stop over-functioning, they won’t begin to pick up the slack.

Here’s another example of a possible speak-up dialogue: “Honey, I’ve gotten burned out this Christmas with all the gift buying for everyone. Next year I’d like it if you took the responsibility for getting the gifts for your whole family. I don’t care what you get them but I don’t want to carry the entire load anymore. If you don’t want to do that, just let your family know that we won’t be exchanging gifts with them next year because I can’t do it all.”

Many of you reading this are seeing many other areas where you over-function and allow your family to neglect carrying their own load of caring for themselves and caring about you. Please understand that God doesn’t want you to sacrifice yourself in order to allow someone else to be lazy or selfish.

The Bible says two things that at first glance appear to contradict one another but both are true. First, we are called to bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2), and second, each person is to carry their own load (Galatians 6:5). Both teachings are true. We carry another’s burden when he or she is unable to carry his/her load alone. However, when we carry a load for someone who is perfectly capable of carrying it themselves, we enable that person to under-function and that hurts them. It allows them to stay lazy, dependent, selfish and self-absorbed.

As C.S. Lewis so wisely wrote, “Love is something more stern and splendid than mere kindness.”

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Restoring Christmas

By Cynthia Ruchti

Alexis Blake has one chance to land her own show on the Home Project Network and nothing, not an uncooperative client, a job site without indoor plumbing, or a challenging videographer, is going to stand in her way.

Elsie, at seventy-plus, is far from the ideal client, but she knows exactly what she wants her fieldstone house to look like, and no designer can tell her otherwise.

Gabe Langley, the man with the camera, is caught in the middle and it is his wisdom and warmth that just may be the bridge that will bring these two women together.

Can they restore more than just a house and bring about special, almost lost forever Christmas memories?

If you would like to enter to win, you can click here to provide name and email address.

The winners of Lord, I Just Want to Be Happy by Leslie Vernick are Donna W and Sharyn W.

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Upcoming Events


April 14, 2018
Gilbert, Arizona

April 21st, 2018
General Conference
Indianapolis, Indiana


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My Parents Need Money, My Husband Doesn’t Care. I’m Stuck!

Question: I need your help. My dad is currently unemployed and only mom works and this has caused a lot of financial strain, as she is over-committed financially.

I am married and recently just got laid off so my husband is the only one working for now. We both come from God-fearing homes and we are both Christians. My parents have indicated that their finances are not going so well but mainly now that my younger sister has to further her studies at a college.

They didn’t ask us to pay her fees or specified where we should help but I figured we can assist with anything we can afford to. I have saved up some money and my husband has a very good job that pays him well. But over the years we’ve been married I’ve learned that he loves his money so much and doesn’t want to inherit burdens from my family as he puts it.

This is a man who loves God and says he loves me but is okay with letting people I love/closer to my heart struggle. We previously had situations where my family needed money so much and he just seems to not be interested.

When I was still working I used to help where I could. I didn’t make a habit of it but when I feel that it’s important they have assistance, then I would help.

I struggle to get past the word that says, “Husbands love your wives as Christ loves His Church.” Is this how love suppose to be? I am beginning to question his love for me and I don’t know what to do.

Answer: You question your husband’s love for you because he seems indifferent to the financial struggles of the people you love. I can understand that. Let me ask you a few more questions about your situation.

If your parents needed money for food or shelter or medical care for themselves would he still be indifferent and not care about their needs? If so you have every right to challenge his love for you and even his relationship with God.

The Bible says that a man who does not care for his family is worse than an unbeliever (1 Timothy 5:8).

And that we are to love with actions, not just with our words (1 John 3:18).

However, I wonder if there is another issue going on that your husband is struggling with...

Empowered To Change 6 Month Group Class

"I Learned some valuable lessons. Knowing Core Values (who I am) is different than my fickle feelings and thoughts is huge for me. Avoiding 'what if' thinking and 'worse case scenario disease' will also be helpful to me. Difference between acknowledging and accepting is good for me to know. I acknowledged the problems 10 years ago, but have only moved closer to accepting in last year. Being responsible for my well-being is new to me. Giving up hope of change in my husband has come very slowly. Grieving currently as this is sinking in. Class helped me see a lot of things. Trusting God to work it all 'into' me. I pray it will move me forward. I need hope for me and kids."

-Class participant

LESLIE WELCOMES YOUR QUESTIONS

Leslie wants to help you grow in your personal and relational effectiveness. Please submit your questions by clicking here.

Then, visit Leslie's Blog as she posts her responses to one question per week.

Note: Due to the volume of questions that Leslie receives, she is unable to respond to every question.

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Leslie Vernick PO Box 5312 Sun City West, Arizona 85376 United States