Thursday, June 20, 2013

It's never the same again

It's been nearly two years since I hit absolute rock bottom with burnout. I'd been told through a prophecy that this was going to happen to me, and to be honest I thought it had happened already. I was wrong. August 7th, 2011 was both the best and worst day of my life. The worst day of my life as I'd sunk lower than I'd ever sunk before - which was a terrifying place to be in. But the best day of my life in the sense that I finally learned about the spiritual ties that had been keeping me bound up and I began to get better for the first time ever.

Ever since then, life has been a slow and steady upward climb. It took me at least two years to get into the place of hitting burnout in the first place, and I was advised that it would take me at least that long again to get back out. There's been some pretty hard stuff that's happened since then - such as the final two months I spent living in Taupo and the time I spent coming down off antidepressant medication - but overall it's been a slow and steady journey back upwards. I'm finally beginning to come back to normality again.

Except that's just the thing - the normality that existed before I went through burnout, is now gone for good and will never return.

Before I went through burnout, I was working long hours at a very busy, demanding job with an hour long commute each day (half an hour each way). I'd come home every evening and write, along with every weekend. Despite the terrible spiritual and emotional burdens I was continually carrying at the time, I still somehow managed to find the energy to keep going - at least for a while.

Oh, how that was to change.

After going through burnout and resigning from my job, I'd be completely exhausted and in need of an afternoon nap after a simple hour long stroll in the sun. This continued for months on end. Even close to a year later, once I shakily started working once again, after three hours cleaning motel rooms I would go home and sleep for two hours just about every day. This continued until I finally began to get my confidence back and realize that I could actually hold down a job, and that I was capable of responsibilities. Once this truth began to sink in I began to feel I had a bit more energy and with continued prayer and emotional support, I continued my journey back to health - or in a lot of ways, my journey to health for the first time.

Nearly two years later, I'm stronger and healthier than ever before. But I've realized that when faced with such a life-defining moment, a moment that literally shatters you to the very core of your being - that things will never really be the same again. I was talking with a friend about it this evening and he likened it to a car that's been in a massive accident - it can be rebuilt, but at the end of the day it's never really going to be the same car. Once something is completely destroyed, a rebuild may get it functional again but it will always be that little bit different.

I can't even imagine doing the working hours these days that I used to do. I get tired just thinking about it. I've realized that I'm a totally different person now than what I used to be. I am far more relaxed and far more balanced but at the same time, I'm even more wary of people than I used to be. I've developed the courage to throw some of the people out of my life who had treated me badly - something I never had the ability to do before. I went from being an incredibly passive person before I went through burnout - to an overly aggressive, confrontational person while I was coming down off the medication. Once that had passed, I began to develop a more balanced, assertive personality. Burnout, in a way, has helped me to gain everything I wanted and needed. But it's cost me everything at the same time. It's made me realize the reality of life and that the consequences of our actions are far reaching and can last a lot longer than we realize.

This whole scenario has caused me to understand what it must have been like for Jesus to go through the crucifixion. It's easy to write it off and say that because He was resurrected, His suffering was over. If anything, it was just the beginning. I believe God's heart is even further burdened these days simply due to the amount of people who reject salvation and ignore the only way to be freed from sin - even though God Himself paid such a high price for that salvation to be achieved. I can't imagine anything more frustrating as a parent (even though I'm not a parent myself) than to see your kids walk in a way you don't want them to go despite the warnings you've given them against it, and despite you paying the price so that they didn't have to.

I remember reading somewhere that the only remnants of sin in Heaven will be the scars on the hands, feet and side of Jesus - to serve as a reminder of the price that was paid in order to get us there. Even in that place of paradise there's still consequences for sin that Jesus has to bear for eternity. I guess one thing I've learned through all of this is the reality of both sin and life altering circumstances - even when forgiveness happens, there's still consequences and things are never really the same. Some of those consequences can be long lasting. Some can even be eternal.

My advice to you, readers, is to think and pray before you act. Some of the things that you do and say may not be so easily reversed and can leave eternal marks behind.

Take care.

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