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Present and Tense

The more I try to fight it, the more I realize that I am tired.
Reflecting on the past months and the year as a whole, a lot has happened.  There have been challenges, blessings, encouragement, joy, pain, struggles, frustrations, revelation, building, forward motion, backward motion… In essence, it has been an incredible year.
It didn’t hit me how busy we had been until I was at a leaders’ conference for our network of churches and someone had asked me about our church and my pastoring it.  I said, “Well, I’ve only been the lead pastor since December.”
They looked at me sort of strangely and said, “You mean for a year now?” I laughed because that hadn’t even occurred to me.
To me it had felt like a few cram-packed months, but I marveled at the fact that it’s been nearly a year (still marveling).  To add stress to the already volatile mix, we have been selling our house and moving for the last month or so.  The last several weeks have been non-stop.  Even with all the help, there were still many late nights/early mornings and virtually no days off (just hours here and there).
Something amazing happened in the midst of this.  God reinforced a principle in the most practical way. Want to know what it is? It’s profound!
God wasn’t kidding when He told you to rest.
Remembering the Sabbath day of rest and keeping it holy was and is a commandment for our benefit. Jesus made that plain when the Pharisees challenged Him and His disciples for “working” on this day.
We have to choose and build these pauses into the rhythm of our lives.  He loves us so He tells us (and enables us) to rest.  Although extremely important, it goes beyond this one day a week as well. It also isn’t just about sleep. It’s about replenishing everything: mind, body, and soul.
The more and harder I worked (because I had to in this case), the more exhausted I became (physically, emotionally, you name it).  The more exhausted I was, the harder I found it was to trust God and believe His word.  That is me being completely honest.
I was much more prone to cynicism, doubt, mischaracterizing God, anger, and more.  It feels like every little setback is the end of the world at first.  I also find that I’m much more oblivious to other people and consumed with my own thoughts and feelings.
I’m getting back.  Right now, I’m present but I’m tense.  Responsibilities for family, work, church as well as continuing housing decisions wear me down even more with the exhaustion.  It’s always hard to catch back up on rest after you’ve run yourself ragged for an extended period.
I’m incredibly thankful that we do get to go on vacation as a family over Christmas and I am praying for a multiplied rest and a flood of God’s presence.  We planned this trip before we ever knew or thought about moving. Makes you think God has a plan for everything, doesn’t it?
I know the Christmas season is not known for its rest and relaxation for the most part.  There are joys to be sure, but stress can be just as plentiful.
If you’ve become exhausted due to necessity, thinking a non-necessity is a necessity, or by your own choosing–I implore you today to allow for some means of resting.  Meditate on His word.  Listen for His voice.  Put on some music and worship with it. Feel His presence surround you, and let Him fill what’s lacking.
For myself, when I get overwhelmed, it’s never good.  Chances are that it’s similar for you.  Fight for your rest!  Don’t keep pressing until you burn out completely.
You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. —Matthew 5:13
It’s not the only culprit, but exhaustion leads to losing my saltiness.  I want to be useful to God, my family, all of you–but I need rest to retain and regain my full flavor.  Whether you realize it or not, you need it too.

What do you think–am I right? If you believe so, are you good at resting? Have you developed a good rhythm/pattern or do you have to force yourself? What would you tell someone on the verge of burnout?

2 Comments

  1. I find that flip side of that is also problematic. Like when you cut yourself too much slack.

    Am still looking for the middle road.
    susie@newdaynewlesson recently posted..If You Drive- Learn The BasicsMy Profile

    • Good point. Thank you, Susie.

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