My husband is a road warrior. When he is working, he is traveling. He thrives on variety and change; the adventure of a new place, a new crowd to train, and a new topic to teach.
While my husband and I share a love of learning, we are different. I don’t dislike travel, but I am more of a homebody who gravitates toward routine and consistency. If I had to walk in my husband’s shoes, my shoes would be tired and sad.
A dear friend of mine is a nurse. She worked incredibly hard after her boys were grown to pursue a burning desire to become a nurse. I admire her tenacity. She is delightfully suited for the role of a nurse, and if I needed a nurse, I hope she would be the one assigned to me.
The path to becoming a nurse would be pure torture for me. The thought of the necessary classes makes me want to cry. I am not fond of doctors (or nurses for that matter), hospitals, or anything medical. I don’t find blood and guts appealing. Dealing with cranky patients and their families would not bring out my best like it does in my compassionate friend. Walking in her shoes would make me miserable.
God has made me in a unique and wonderful way. I have marvelous abilities that serve my purpose well. I also have limitations that keep me on the path He has for me. I have my own special pair of shoes to walk out my life in; a pair that’s style, size, and width fit me as perfectly like Cinderella’s slipper fit her.
When I try to walk in other people’s shoes, or shoes that are not suited for me, it leads to frustration and burnout. How I walk out being a wife, mother, friend, curriculum writer, coach, etc. will be different from how anyone else does it. When I try to copy others, I am dishonoring God and who He created me to be and the path He has for me. God has unique and incredible things for us to do if we embrace the abilities and limitations He has blessed us with.
Frustration and burnout are avoided when I pursue the path that’s exclusively mine. Searching for your perfect pair of shoes? Here are some steps to take:
1. Increase your awareness of YOU
The better you know yourself, the easier it is to know what fits. You are a complex person. There is always more to learn about you. With greater clarity comes greater confidence. Here are a few areas to get to know you better: Personality, values, strengths, spiritual gifts, unique talents, passion and purpose. Each of these will be contributing factors in however God desires to use you for meaningful things.
2. Know your boundaries
You have limits. Limits are not negatives. They keep you from investing great energy into things that won’t provide much return.
Keep your focus on the things within your boundaries that are your responsibility. Make sure that you are not attempting to cross the boundaries of others and what is their responsibility.
Good stewardship of your time and money will be spent on things within your responsibility.
3. Realize the season you are in right now
Sandals are inappropriate footwear for winter weather and fleece boots are foolish in the heat of summer. They both might fit perfectly, but are not suited for the season.
What God has in mind for you is different depending on the season, and each season is preparation for the next season. What you put your time and energy into as a teen, college student, single person, married, married with kids, empty nester, retired, etc. will be different. Frustration is sure to follow when you attempt to pursue inappropriate goals for this season of life.
4. Gather a team
You need other people; their encouragement, feedback or feed-forward. You need their expertise. Others often see the strengths in you that you miss because they are so much a part of you. Your team may be made up of family, friends, mentors, specific professionals, even a coach!
5. Be clear on your motivation
No matter what God has created you to do, or be, He longs for you to do it so that He will be glorified. That’s counter to all things of this world. When you do things for selfish reasons, acknowledgement, success, fame or to make a bunch of money the shoes you are wearing will clash with who God created you to be.
Dig deep. Be honest. It is easy to deceive yourself about why you are pursuing whatever you are pursuing.
6. Keep it sustainable
Being overloaded and overwhelmed limits your creativity, impedes your abilities, and affects your mood. Let go of distractions or things that you can delegate. Make sure you are putting your effort into the things that count. God never gives us more than we can handle.
7. Walk with God
Attempting to accomplish big things takes a tremendous amount of time and effort. It is easy to get so caught up in it all that you forget to make Him your priority. Daily time basking in His presence and feeding on His Word is time well spent. Not only does He encourage, He also directs, and opens doors that would be closed otherwise. It takes faith to make time with Him a priority your life. Don’t settle on just a quick morning chat with God. Continue the conversation with Him throughout the day.
You can’t do everything, but you can walk fully in your purpose and calling! Be true to who He designed you to be. He has bigger shoes for you than you ever dreamed possible!
It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone. Ephesians 1:11-12 (MSG)
Where have you experienced burnout and frustration? What will you do to make sure you avoid burnout in the future?