3 Words


          Just about 2 weeks ago, I became unexpectedly overwhelmed, reaching a cliff-edge I had not been quite so near in some time. Many times before, I have been overcome by exhaustion and a host of other emotions. But something was different this time. This time, part of me was calm and fully functional.

          But there was another part and that part of me was at the very edge of hysteria; I felt as if I wanted to just scream and scream till I was emptied of everything that had accumulated inside unseen. There was no rage or fury nor sorrow. None of that. Just an overpowering sense of being being filled to bursting with things that had no right being inside me.

          Thank God my husband walked into our bedroom just as that moment and I blurted out to him about how I was feeling. Very firmly and quickly, he told me I had pushed too much, that I needed to drop everything and rest. With that timely support in place, I did just that. Although it was just a little past 10pm and there were still some things to be seen to at home on a week night, I dropped everything, shut the door and picked up a book I had been reading since the beginning of the year, Barack Obama’s A Promised Land.

          The effect of that shutting down was instantaneous. Just a few lines in, a sudden inner quiet took hold of me. It was not due to anything on the page I had been reading – but I suspect just the fact that I had intentionally stepped away from something not quite right – saved me.

          In that moment of sudden quietening, I called out to my God.

Help me, Lord. I need help. 

          I was a workaholic and I needed to quit working the way I did and yet, not actually quit my job. But I didn’t know how. I had tried breaks. I had tried to not care as much. Nothing worked.

Help me, Lord. I need help. 

          Into that silence, I heard a male voice, with an American accent, speak at my ear.

Keep it simple

          Like a bolt of light, those 3 words pierced me.

Keep it simple

          I didn’t need anything more explained to me. Early in the year, I had heard a voice say to me, The time for work has ended. I wasn’t too sure what was meant. With each phase of lockdown we entered after that, I wondered if that end had come. Yet, it wasn’t so. Deep inside, I wondered if it meant that the old way of working had ended. But with the terrible crush of work that came in March, that too didn’t seem likely.

          Keep it simple suddenly made it clear. The world would go on the way it was going – it was I who needed to change my approach to work. The time to work as I had for more than 2 decades had ended. The endless 18-hour days, the vicious cycles I put myself through, the high intensity of perfection I pushed myself to – it had to go. It all had to go.

Keep it simple

          I went in to work the very next day and for the next 2 weeks with those 3 words firmly pinned to my heart. A clear stream began to trip and tumble within me. An exquisite sweetness began to light the edges of my spirit. Some days, I still came home very tired – but something had changed. It was a tiredness that was quickly healed by a day or two of good rest and sleep.

          In the past, none of that had worked for long.

          Today, I realised that the cliff-edge I had almost tottered over was that of irreversible burnout. Had I not been obedient to God’s voice through my husband, something could have happened that night 2 weeks ago.

         3 words sent from heaven had saved me.

Keep it simple



  1. I do believe that ‘keeping it simple’ are heavenly words. We tend to overthink things and that can be a not good thing at times. Burnout is a painful experience. You have set such high standards for yourself. You do need to give yourself a time-out, a place to simply ‘be’. You are not your work although you work so very hard. You are you, a beautiful soul, loved by God. I pray that the mantra in your head will continue…keep it simple, remember who you are, a child of God, and no one else ‘owns’ all of your time. How wonderful that your husband was there and sensed your pain. He reminded you that you are you, and that is all; you need rest, quiet time, peace within your soul. (We cannot change the world, but we can change the way we react to it.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I never realised that work was owning me – until you mentioned it. That hits the nail on the head. My passion for work had slowly been morphing into a form of slavery. I too pray and hope I’ll never forget to keep things simple. That’s the only way out of this bondage.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wishing you blessings day by day…keep opening the windows just a bit more every morning and every night. Change is hard. Slowly, allow yourself to feel that breeze coming in. Remember you hold all the keys to your happiness. No one else can claim those keys. They are yours to keep. (We all forget this sometime, but it is a mantra you repeat to yourself…don’t give the keys to someone else and don’t give out any spare keys.) Simple joys do seem to mean so much…allow yourself the time to enjoy the things you love….your family, your roses, your writing time. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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