September 30, 2020

Signs you may have hit the wall…

You’ve been driving for work so much that you can’t see out the rear window of your car because of all the empty fast-food bags piled up in the back seat.

You dream about work…in detail…every night.

You are praying more and more passionately. But all your prayers are imprecations aimed at other drivers around you. This does not help you feel closer to God.

You catch yourself sighing a lot.

You would miss your wife, but you’re not sure you would know her if you saw her.

Kids? I have kids?

Your first thought at almost every moment is negative. Or blank. Or negative about having such blank thoughts. what was I thinking about? Damn it! What’s wrong with me?

Oh yeah, you say things like “Damn it!” a lot more.

Shower. Work. Eat. Work. Eat. Work. Sleep. Rinse and repeat.

Friends tell you they’re retiring, selling their house, and moving out west. You smile and congratulate them. You hate them.

You are only able to concentrate on the moment at hand. Sometimes, you feel a rush of panic, because you can’t remember yesterday — Did I miss something or forget someone I was supposed to meet? Did I say or do something stupid? Did I…[who knows what]?

It takes one entire day off before you can even begin to unclench your jaw.

A balanced meal is one you don’t spill on your shirt as you drive. A relaxing meal is when you pull over after going through the drive-up window and park for five minutes. An enjoyable meal is nowhere to be found.

There is little or no sense of satisfaction when you complete something. All you can think about is what you have to do next or the pile of things that remain unfinished.

You hear rumors about a mysterious time called “weekend,” when some people don’t work but take time to enjoy themselves. You Google it to learn more.

You don’t want to go to bed at night because you know the next thing will be getting up and starting another day of work.

Friends? Ha ha ha ha! Stop it, this guy is killing me!

You write a blog, but instead of producing something thoughtful, provocative, and creative, all you can think to write about is a silly list of signs that show you may have hit the wall.


  1. Another Mary says

    Bless you friend. I’ve been there. My favorite personal description was feeling like I step into a huge dryer or some kind of agitating piece of machinery where I am tumbled about tumbled about tumbled about and then blown out the end at the the close of the day. I would sort of stagger around trying to get a sense of time etc only to hit the sheets and then get up and do it again the next day.
    The good new (yes, there is good news) is you really are getting closer to your goal, and you will reach it. This is just the in between time. I hope this make sense.

  2. If this pays the bills, then I’d say you’ve got a pretty good situation, Chaplain Mike. Also, like the cartoon shows, hitting the wall is one thing; going through it is another. 😉

    • Out of old habit, I keep forgetting to check the “Please check to prove YOU ARE human. Thank you.” box. For the first time ever, when I hit the “back” button, my comment is still there.

  3. Michael The Haggard says

    I am _not_ human, but in order to post here I must check that I am.

    Does this constitute hitting a wall?

  4. Sounds like it’s time for a vacation, Chaplain Mike. Drive to someplace quiet, smell the roses, that kind of thing. And forget about this blog for an entire week or two!

  5. Firstly, very funny! Secondly, very illustrative of our modern day, sabbath less culture. I’m not talking about a specific day but simply a balance of work and rest. I was thinking this past Thursday that you guys need a blog sabbath. Take two days off on occasion with old posts but no comments, hence no moderator. If I were your doctor I would order it. Two days because one day would only give you time to unclench. It is contrary to our current cultural bent ( must stay current, media cycle and such) but Christians spit in the eye of the world’s crude notions. The sabbath was created for man, not man for the sabbath. That is fundamentally good psychology. I think the blog would thrive even more. That’s generally how it works. Occasionally you just have to GIVE IT A REST.

    • David Cornwell says

      Chaplain Mike, your just so human, and that’s great!

      About sabbath: Marge & I swear the animals know about the sabbath and keep it better than we do. Our dog does nothing on Sundays, except lay around and rest. On Sunday morning when we get ready to go out the door for church, she apparently knows we will be away from the house for 5 or more hours, and she heads for the sofa and won’t even bother to say goodbye.

      And even the birds and the cattle seem to have a sense of sabbath. Maybe this is all just my hopeful imagination, but I like it.

  6. Sounds like life in Washington, D.C.!! I hit the wall years ago…. I’m still trying to figure out how to get around it.

  7. Clay Knick says

    I know this wall!!

    • Joseph (the original) says

      “All in all you’re just another brick in the wall…

      ~Pink Floyd


  8. Weekends are awesome! I remember the last one I had way back in 2011. Good times, man! Good times!

  9. (((hugs)))

    I totally understand. Up until a week ago, I was working full time AND trying to finish an urgernt course for my Masters AND trying to set up interviews for a new job since this one got the budget axe!

    In my case, two of the three are now history, but not before I broke out in odd rashes and kept awakening from nightmare due to my own whimpering in my sleep.

    Sometimes the only true prayer is “God, I am a mess. Please help me!!”

  10. When people ask “how are you”, and you give them a pre-printed form letter…

  11. Having been there for the last couple of years, I am now glad to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Just hope it is not a freight train!

    I remember a prominent blogger writing how he had blogged every day for X number of years without missing one day. I remember thinking, that is not an accomplishment, that is just sad. Sad that he felt that he should not take a sabbath off from blogging.

    I have experienced burnout. It is not pretty and takes a long time to recover from it.

  12. That Other Jean says

    Sounds like it’s time for a break, Chaplain Mike. Go. Relax. We’ll still be here when you get back.

  13. Sounds familiar, except for the fast food wrappers in the back seat. When others come to me with comments like yours – truth cloaked in humor – about their caregiver stress, I have a load of good advice for them – but now that I’m in the same boat, I can’t seem to apply my own advice! It’s not that we don’t know how to solve this……..

  14. cermak_rd says

    I tend to take my Sabbath seriously, so I don’t do a lot of things I would normally be doing, like working (all weekend work gets shifted to Sunday if at all possible), shopping (Sundays), lawn work and house cleaining (Sundays), etc. I take a long walk with my dog, maybe get my oils out and try a little painting, cook a nice meal (I don’t consider cooking to be work, per se–I enjoy it), and just rest. It does take the hectic out of the week.

    The other thing is, I recently joined up for an Active for Life challenge and part of the challenge is to up your physical activity. I’ve been taking my dog on early AM before work walks. I can’t believe how much better I feel! Not physically (I don’t feel worse at least!) but mentally.

  15. I knew a therapist lady in Silicon Valley who said that many of her clients couldn’t even come up with an escape fantasy, some happy island they imagined chucking it all and moving to. Building wooden boats in Maine, a monastery in Ireland. She thought that pattern, that blocked imagination, was a symptom of something very wrong with the way we lived life down there, and I’m sure she was right.

    I’ve been thinking about the scapegoat vs. the sacrificed goat and the theme of “outside”, like Hebrews 13:11-12. Maybe we should call it the “escaped goat”. But the thing is, once you leave, you can’t ever go back.

    • many of her clients couldn’t even come up with an escape fantasy
      That is when I know I am in a bad spot, when I can’t even imagine a place I would want to be. When everything inside is just numb and all energy is focused into putting one foot in front of the other to just keep moving forward.

      • “That is when I know I am in a bad spot, when I can’t even imagine a place I would want to be.”

        Yes, me too.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        While everyone else runs around in circles screaming — “URGENT! URGENT!! URGENT!!! URGENT!!!! URGENT!!!! WESLEY CRUSHER SAVE THE SHIP WESLEY SAVE THE SHIP WESLEY SAVE THE SHIP WESLEY!!!!!”

        And the only help you can expect is lectures on “MULTITASKING! MULTITASKING!! MULTITASKING!!!”

  16. Something amazing that you’ve accomplished this week is the work on the servers. Commenting is much easier and far less error-fraught! Sometimes I have to stop and focus on all I did accomplish and less on what fell off the end of the “to do” list. You sound very busy, but know that you continually touch lives both online and in person and that is wonderful. Allow other hands to lift you over the wall and never steal someone else’s opportunity to be Christ-like in your life…the wall you have encountered doesn’t have hand holds for a reason: your community is meant to lift you over. 🙂

    • Yes, this site is working much better now. Thanks for all the work on it! And a big thank you to Joe.

  17. This “hitting the wall” schedule. Where can I find it? Sounds like a calmer place than where I am currently.

  18. AndreaBT says

    I could almost hear your voice audibly as I read this, the voice that once preached sermons in my church. There is still a touch of wry humor in it. If you hit that wall, the wall is not going to win!

  19. Feels like a summary of my life right now. Every point hits home. Fortunately, I seem to have a natural talent for shutting down work and relaxing when needed. AKA getting distracted…

  20. petrushka1611 says

    Let Mark Driscoll run the site while you take a week off. :->

  21. I identified nine of these signs that exactly described me for the last two months of school. And I still have to come in once a week all summer just to get ready for August . . . I can’t imagine what it would be like to have a day to do absolutely nothing. *sigh* (See, there I go again!)

  22. The other Graham says

    Have you guys been following me around? This reads like a checklist, and if it is, I’ve got to make some changes!!!