29 September, 2010. That was the day I realized I was burned out. As a young Christian undergraduate, I thought that I was immune to burnout. After all, wasn’t I doing everything “right” by serving in multiple church and campus ministries every week?
We hear self-motivating phrases like “You do you”, “Just be yourself”, and “Live authentically” all the time. I’ll be honest, I have probably said a few of them myself. As this whole authenticity/just-be-yourself idea has gained momentum, I have found myself reflecting . . . what if the “self” we’re told to be is broken?
Life is hard. We face broken relationships, disappointment, discouragement, ostracism, illnesses, and day-to-day things like the frustration of squeezing with the morning crowd, assignments and chores that won’t complete themselves, nights when we straddle between exhaustion and insomnia—the list is endless.
That Sunday, when I realized that I had messed up the timing yet again, I started to feel angry at myself, and regretted not being able to join the full worship session from beginning.
“If God really is who they say He is—all-loving, all-powerful, and all-good—He would end the suffering. Therefore, because there is suffering there can be no God.”
So says the age-old critique. Many of us let words like this wash over us without thinking critically about them.