Since August of 2002 I have been a full-time college student. I graduated with my bachelor's degree in May of 2007, but spent the next year completing the work for my internship and a couple final classes before enrolling in a graduate program in August of two-thousand-eight. While I was a student I ALWAYS had a job, and in fact, usually had more than one (for a few weeks in 2005 I actually had 5 jobs at one time!). I had no problem working full-time and being a full-time student. Until a couple of years ago. It culminated in me quitting my full-time editing job, which I loved and had worked at for 4 years, in April 2009. I thought it would help me focus better on the education I was beginning to neglect.
Last fall, while unemployed, I returned to my graduate studies...while dealing with several major family issues...and by the end of the semester, I had not completed a single one of my courses. I got 3 incompletes. (I finally finished them this summer.)
So basically, I have been unemployed (by choice) for a year and 4 months, and technically out of school since December. And I've been wondering the last little while...what in the world have I been doing? Why have I been so unsuccessful at everything lately? I haven't even had any motivation to blog, for goodness' sake! Why am I such a bum? After all, my recent laxity is quite uncharacteristic of me!
And I just ran across a blog post from earlier this week by one of my favorite authors. It's subject is burnout. It is quite an interesting article, though kind-of lengthy. If you want, you can read it here: http://karenhancock.wordpress.com/2010/08/10/burnout/. I'll quote the part that most struck me, though:
"Tonight in the next lesson of the Job series I am listening to, a message delivered in the mid-nineties, Pastor was talking of the man in Lamentations 3...one of many Jews enslaved by the Babylonians.
"'Why were the Children of God in slavery?' Pastor asked. Because they'd just experiened 490 years of prosperity during which God had instructed them to take every seventh year off from work 'to let the land rest.' The Sabbatical year.
"During that time they were to cease working and enjoy the blessings and prosperity the Lord had provided and also to realize that even when they were not 'working and hustling' God still provides. 'We tend to think we earned it. But then God puts us in a position where we can't earn anything and yet we still receive something.'
"They were to give themselves and the land rest. But they ignored that command and kept on working and hustling and trying to accumulate wealth. So Nebuchadnezzar came and took them away. And the land rested...for exactly the 70 years they had not given over to the Sabbatical."
I have worked hard and studied for the past 7 years. For many, many reasons, I felt I needed a break from work...and then I ended up taking somewhat of a respite from my studies as well. And I have not been able to wrap my mind around what has been going on that I shut down like I did.
Now I am ready to begin a new semester of studies...I am even planning to attempt to work full-time on two different degrees (my M.Div. and a second B.A., if everything falls into place), at two different schools, while working at least part-time at a job as well. It seems like the machinations of my life are just naturally starting back up again, and I can't help but wonder if this was just a year I really needed to take for rest?
In the blog I linked above, the author quotes some other writers who suggested a variety of reasons for burnout, and I do believe I may have been experiencing just that. But I'm ready to go again! I did think her reference to the Sabbatical year was interesting, though, in light of my experience. Maybe it's something we should still incorporate into our lives today, for our own sanity!