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The Fear of Never Doing Enough

December 2021 1

The Fear of Never Doing Enough

By Chaplain Doug Samples


“How can I be working 10-12 hours a day including weekends and still feel like a failure?”


As Chaplain for our SNU School of Professional and Graduate Studies, one of my significant times of service is from 5-6pm each evening

in the lobby of our Royce Brown building

as I welcome our Bethany adult students as they come to class.


My pastor’s heart can almost feel the weight of the burdens

these folks are carrying with them.

Many of them have been up since 5:30am!

And after working all day, they come armed with big glasses of caffeine to keep them going through 3-4 hours of evening classes.


As I have been asking people to share their fears with me,

here is what one of our exhausted adult students wrote to me:


“On paper, I have one job title.

But then above and beyond that job,

I have all these other responsibilities…

AND I’m the single mother of a teenager.

My biggest fear? Failure!

And I feel it looming just over the horizon!”


We have all heard the statement, “The world is run by busy people!” I would add to that: “The world is run by tired, busy people!”


In these Covid-variant days, we not only have the loss of jobs due to automation but we also have the exhaustion of jobs due to consolidation of responsibilities.

If they can’t automate it… they will consolidate it into your work load.


And so this is what I hear a lot of these days:

I’m spinning so many plates

I can never do enough

I am pulled in too many directions

I am spread so thin… no one is getting my best effort.


It doesn’t matter how much I do, when I lay my head down on my pillow at night,

my head is still replaying all the things I didn’t get done. As I rush through my days, I’m making it up as I go along.

I feel like I am dangerously tired and I don’t know if I can keep going.

I’m so tired, I wish I could have a nervous breakdown… so I could just stop.


So… What do we do?


I could give you

“Five Methods for Better Delegating” “Seven Secret Coping Strategies”

“Nine Stress Management Techniques”

But I’m guessing you’ve tried all of that!


So, I’ve only got one thing to offer: Sabbath Rest!

Matthew 11:25-30… Jesus says…

“Come to me all who are tired and weary and exhausted and broken…

and I will give you rest.”


Whether... it is a Sabbath day… ½ day… hour… or just 5 minutes…

A Sabbath 3 minutes of prayer with your son or daughter.

A Sabbath 12 minutes in the car with the radio off on way to work. A Sabbath hiding place where you lock the door.

A Sabbath walk around the building.


Have you figured out that

nobody ever gives you permission to stop.

You have to give yourself the gift of Sabbath!


Out of Solitude by Henri Nouwen

It is in solitude that we discover

that Being is more important than Doing, and that we are worth more

than the results of all our efforts.

In solitude we discover

that our life is not a possession to be defended but a gift to be shared!


If you are feeling dangerously tired and exhausted, please use this link and let me know how best to pray for you.

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