Wednesday, September 20, 2017

It Crept Up on Me

July 20, 2010 by  
Filed under Monthly Articles

It crept up on me.  August padded onto the calendar on soundless cat paws.  Where did summer go?  September is just around the corner and I am still trying to figure out who vaporized May and June.  I know where summer went:  Vacation Bible School,  Camp,  Parks and Rec programs., volunteer endeavors, ministry, planning, coordinating, researching and writing.  Busy, busy, busy!

It wasn’t supposed to be like this.  I am on sabbatical from heading up Children’s Ministries.  It’s supposedly
my summer off. It is my time to “Be still and know that I am God”. It is my time to be “led beside still waters”.  Yet, here I am running on “empty” because I’ve been running all summer.  Well, not quite all summer!  I’m running on fumes because I never stopped running in the first place!

Didn’t Jesus say, “Come to me, all you who weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”?  “Take my yoke upon you and you will find rest for your souls?  Didn’t He say “my yoke is easy and my burden is light”? (Matthew 11:28-30, NIV)

So why am I running around at 90 mph with my hair on fire, heaving one Alaskan-sized boulder after another onto my back as if sustaining the law of gravity depends on me?

My short answer would be: bad memory.  I forget that it doesn’t depend on me.  Do you?

There’s a certain sense of fulfillment in being busy, especially if you’re busy serving the Lord.  Don’t we admire those who pour heart and soul into the Lord’s work?  Don’t we look up to those who are overworked, under-rested, and up-to-their-eyebrows in ministry?  These are all good things, but without balance ( including attention to our own hearts and souls)  the demands of ministry can consume us;  eating away at our joy, peace, and contentment. 

These demands can sap our strength and stiffen our hearts.  Some of us can get so busy serving Jesus that Matthew 11 seems incongruous, even out of place.  Rest feels irresponsible.  Look around the local ministerial association or Bible study group.  How many haggard, lined looks can you count?  How many fatigue-fogged faces, eyes glazed exhaustion?

How does this square with that easy yoke and light burden?  Okay, okay.  We must behave like grown-ups.  Bills, families, jobs, responsibilities…  But does that mean that we have to be chained to them, slaves to them?  Running so fast and so hard that we collapse or induce a heart attack?  No wonder we burn out and lose our seasons of summer, which is to be our rest for heart, soul, mind and body.  I’m sitting at the kitchen table this morning with a bowl of Special K, and my good dog at my feet.  I’m replaying the past few months in my head and I am sighing.

Here’s what I write:

“Was all that really necessary?  Did I have to chair another committee? Did I need to take on another project? Shall I fill up every square on my Day Minder?  Do I need to respond to every complaint, question, and concern”?

I sigh again and write:

“Lord, I want more of you.  Not more burdens or busyness.  More of You. Your plans.  Your priorities.  Your easy yoke and light burden.  I know I must be intentional about slowing down.  About pulling away from the busyness and quieting the  “internal chatter” so I can hear You”.

Slowing down may mean riding bikes with my kids or a walk on the beach with my husband.  A Puccini aria and a long soak in a hot tub might be in order too.  Hiking in the Cascades might be necessary and enjoying a sunset, an orchid, or a slice of watermelon as well.  Taking control means being deliberate about setting aside time for renewal and restoration so His heart and mine beat as one.  This helps to make the rest of the year and those that follow more holy so that we are more wholly His.

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