This morning I came across a blog post by Shauna Niequist; a fellow wife, mother, and businesswoman. Her post was everything that I had felt and continued to feel along this journey of being an entrepreneur. The daily struggles, the highs and lows of business, and the constant sacrifice that I was making for so long in my business.
I couldn’t let this blog just be read by my eyes when I know there are so many of you who will benefit from reading it too.
“Three years ago, I stared at the ceiling of a hotel room in Dallas, exhausted. I said to myself, “If anyone wants to live this life I’ve created for myself, they’re more than welcome to try. But I’m done. I need a new way of living.”
I was 36 years old. Aaron and I had been married for 11 years, and we had two boys—a one-year-old and a six-year-old. I was finishing a book, longer than previous ones I’d written, and with recipes this time, which meant that during the weekdays I was writing essays, and in the evenings I tested recipes over and over. On the weekends, often I was traveling, speaking at conferences, retreats, and churches.
In many ways, I loved this life—loved my husband, adored my kids, was so thankful to be a writer. But it’s like I was pulling a little red wagon, and as I pulled it along, I filled it so full that I could hardly keep pulling. That red wagon was my life, and the weight of pulling it was destroying me.
I may not have known it fully then, but after three years of deep reflection, I know it fully now, and I need to let you in on something: You don’t have to sacrifice your spirit, your joy, your soul, your family, your marriage on the altar of ministry.
Just because you have the capacity to do something doesn’t mean you have to do it.”
This portion of the blog was my favorite. It’s hard for an entrepreneur to say “no” but there are times when you have to. You have to do what’s best for your family and yourself and there are times when “no” is the best option.
“It has been tremendously helpful to think of myself as a part of the kingdom. I am not building the kingdom if that work is destroying this member of that kingdom. If you burned down your garden in order to make more room to host and feed your friends, you would find yourself shortsighted the next time you wanted to feed the people you loved, right?
I set myself aflame as often as necessary, whatever it took to keep going, to build, to help; but I’m learning slowly that wholeness prevails.”
“Burnout is not reserved for the rich or the famous or the profoundly successful. It’s happening to so many of us, people across all kinds of careers and lifestyles.
If you’re tired, you’re tired, no matter what. If the life you’ve crafted for yourself is too heavy, it’s too heavy, no matter if the people on either side of you are carrying more or less. You don’t have to have a public life or a particularly busy life in order to be terribly, dangerously depleted. You just have to buy into the idea that your feelings and body and spirit aren’t worth listening to, and believe the myth that busyness or achievement or both will take away the pain.”
Just reading someone else’s struggle has helped me realize that I should never feel bad for picking my family and myself first and YOU shouldn’t either. We don’t have to be rich and famous to be tired. Like Shauna said, when you’re tired you’re tired. It doesn’t matter what type of life you live, you’re allowed to choose to stop sacrificing yourself.