Is This My Breaking or Breakthrough?

Amber Ginter

iBelieve Contributing Writer
Updated Apr 01, 2024
Is This My Breaking or Breakthrough?

What new beginnings are you chasing in this season? How are you striving toward them?

Late Tuesday evening, what I thought was just a small throat irritation quickly blossomed into a full-blown head cold. By Good Friday, I was coughing, sneezing, and hacking up a storm. Easter Sunday, my cycle graced me with Endometriosis stabbings. 

"How can I be sick again?" I asked myself. 

"Why can't I seem to stay well?" 

"When will true rest come?"

Reflecting on the last three months, I wondered, "What's the culprit to all this?" It's not what you might think.

Are You A Slave?

For the last five years, at least, I've lived in a state of what I call hypervigilance or fight-or-flight. I've always had a type-A personality, but when high-functioning anxiety reaches a new level, it isn't for the faint of heart. "The Grind," as some people call it, makes you a slave. Jesus says in Romans 6:15-18 that you're a slave to whatever you choose to obey. My slavery often comes in the form of efficiency, productivity, and workaholism. It's praised by society, applauded by co-workers, and admired by onlookers. On the inside, it's working overtime with no pay, reducing life without any true reward. 

I've always heard it said that if you don't make time to rest, you'll be forced to. That was true for me this past week. There's nothing I hate more than being sick, unproductive, lying around, and resting. My mind searches for things to do, and my body grows restless. Walking to the bathroom or to get a drink of water feels like freedom. Maybe if I took time to build rest and Sabbath into my life, instead of living like a machine, my oil wouldn't need to be changed so often. 

While I don't believe God made me sick, I believe He can use icky things in our lives (even things like the common cold) to teach and remind us of simple lessons. My lesson is about the value of rest, slowing down, and being in a moment. And in those moments, as my pastor says, we can either break down or break through. Maybe that's what this breaking is about. 

The Breaking 

I don't really know how I got to this point. I mean I do, but I don't. Paul asks a similar question in Romans 7:19-25: "Why do I do the things I don't want to do, and don't do the things I do?" Sounds a bit similar to Shakespeare, right? Paul has a point. 

I wonder why I'm tired, rundown, and getting sick, but if you add up the equations in my life, it makes sense. I treat my body like a machine, a slave, a superhuman, rather than a human with limited time, energy, and resources. Every day, I'm up and moving 100 miles a minute. It's like I'm running a marathon but never reach my destination. By 7:30 a.m., I've accomplished ten items on my to-do list. But at the end of my day, I cringe when I see 50 items crossed off with 100 more to go. 

I know it's impacting my mental and physical health and my relationships. But I often can't seem to stop. Addiction isn't quite the right word when it's rooted in anxiety. Perhaps it's also rooted, however, in trauma recovery, false beliefs, and fear. I've been breaking for a long time. Running from problems I needed to slow down and face and choosing the lies over the truth because it was simpler to listen to their voices than seek the truth. Living in fear instead of the peace that calls out to me. 

The Breakdown

When we reach these places in our lives, we're given a couple of choices. We can break down—fallen, sunken, and remorseful—or we can break through into something new. The breakdown tells us "Things will always be this way," "It's been five years... don't expect change," and "What's wrong with a little productivity?" But Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:28-30 that we don't have to let these things weigh us down. We can give Him our burdens because we were never meant to carry them in the first place. 

As someone with generalized anxiety disorder, depression, and numerous physical health conditions, I want to be clear that as a Christian, I do my best to surrender these things to the Lord every single day. But those with chronic and diagnosable diseases like myself will tell you, that surrender doesn't equate to problems disappearing. Just as someone with cancer often has to undergo treatment, medication, and holistic methods of healing, so do those with mental health conditions.

I think what Jesus wants us to know about burdens is that He wants to carry them for us. And when we hang onto them longer than we should, He carries them with us. He isn't ashamed, upset, or pointing fingers of judgment at us. He's wrapping His arms around us in love. He's saying, "I see you breaking. I see you carrying these loads. And it's okay. I'm here. I love you. I see you. I care. I will never leave or abandon you. We will get through this together." 

The Breakthrough

It's by acknowledging this surrender, this state of "I can't do this" (used by the enemy to break us down) that we can discover our breakthrough. Genesis 50:20 writes it this way: "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives" (NIV). 

Breakthrough becomes this new life and new light that can unlock new career ambitions, new healing, new hope, etc. The extensive list goes on. Hallelujah! 

What does that list look like for you? I'll offer a few more ideas. 

For me, this season of breaking has taught me that I need to implement rest, breaks, and the Sabbath into my daily life. Not simply because I think it's the way to fix all sickness in my life but because I can't keep living at the pace I am. It's unhealthy. It's unsustainable. And though it looks appealing to the world, it's heartbreakingly destructive to my body, soul, and mind. 

I've also learned that you can't put a price tag on happiness and healing. For the last five years, I've poured everything I am into a career I know isn't for me. Why? Because everyone around me told me I'd never make it as a full-time author. I'd become a starving artist and live on the streets. But if Jesus has called me to it, why have I listened to everyone else's voices? And if I have a sustainable plan with support, why do I allow fear to hold me back?

Benefits, insurance, and pay hold many of us to jobs we know aren't for us. Even in a recent conversation with a close friend, I discovered that perhaps we cling to things because of what others in society think. I went to school for 5 years to teach and now I want to write. Society will call me insane. It's terrifying to leave comfort and security when you're talking about bills to pay, medical supplies to purchase, surgeries to have, and food to eat. But my husband always says there's something even more terrifying than this: staying where you are the rest of your life and ignoring the call you know God's placed on your life. 

A New Beginning

Even before I've reached where I'm going, these new beginnings will follow me. I don't know what that life will entail, but I know it will include less work and more life, less productivity and more presence, and fewer breakdowns and more breakthroughs. This isn't because it will always be easy or pain-free but because then, I'll be living. 

What new beginnings are you chasing in this season? How are you striving toward them?

Agape, Amber

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/evgenyatamanenko

amber ginter headshotAmber Ginter is a teacher-turned-author who loves Jesus, her husband Ben, and granola. Growing up Amber looked for faith and mental health resources and found none. Today, she offers hope for young Christians struggling with mental illness that goes beyond simply reading your Bible and praying more. Because you can love Jesus and still suffer from anxiety. You can download her top faith and mental health resources for free to help navigate books, podcasts, videos, and influencers from a faith lens perspective. Visit her website at