Running, Resting, and (trying not to) Burn Out (pt. 2)

Posted: 05/02/2012 in Children's Ministry, Family Ministry, Leadership, Lessons Learned, Pastor(ing), Vocation, Youth Ministry

The first post in this series was started a while ago. Things happen, some out of my control, some due to my own laziness and/or lack of discipline (as far as blogging goes). But I need to get this out, if not for me, then for you. Avoid what I did.

So, here we go …

My over night hospital stay back in February, made me re-think the way I was handling my schedule. I was running too hard for too long and my body simply shut down due to fatigue. This forced me to re-evaluate.

Step #1 – stop running. So far, I can honestly say it’s working. Through delegation and a revised schedule, I’m getting the things I have to do done (and doing them better). Now, on to step #2 …

Resting

In Matthew 11:28 – 30, Jesus reminds us:

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (ESV)

I had been running … hard, but not really resting … at all. I felt like I was always “on the clock”. I felt like I couldn’t say, “No.” to tasks or people. This constant running finally caught up to me. I needed to not just read Jesus’ words, but apply them.

“… and learn from me …”

I got very good at going to Jesus when I was in “crisis mode”. I was up against the wall of a self-imposed deadline or an ever growing mountain of tasks and just despair. I would cry (… actually whine) out to Jesus, “Help me!”

I wanted the rest, but I was way too busy to “learn from Him.” What does that even mean anyways? I had to learn (again) that I don’t have the strength in and of myself to accomplish what God has called me to. I needed to learn (again) that I need to rely on God to give me His strength and allow Him the freedom to set my priorities. I needed to learn (again) that my rest is found in Jesus’ finished work, not in my skills or abilities to “get things done”.

Jesus was re-teaching me, rest is found in following His example. Jesus was often up early, alone with God in prayer. He relied on His heavenly Father to provide Him everything He needed to be successful that day. My personal time with God is critical to the success of me as a husband, father, pastor, and person. For a while it became something I did just to check off my list of things to do. I wasn’t resting in His presence, I was rushing to get it done and move on to more important things. In essence I was trying to earn my salvation.

“… my yoke is easy …”

Jesus’ way of doing things is always easier than my way. As I over-think, over/double book myself, I ended up just burning myself out. I needed rest. The kind of rest that only Jesus’ finished work on the cross can provide. The kind of rest that provides for all that I need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). The kind of rest that declares, “It is finished!” (John 19:30).

So, am I doing less? Yes and no. Yes, in the sense of less time running from item to item on my “to-do-list”. No, in the sense that my responsibilities haven’t changed. The difference? I am resting in the hands of my Savior and God, allowing Him to show me what needs to get done and what can wait until later. This yoke is indeed easy and light. Much more easy and much lighter than the one of my own making. Rest where it can truly be found, in Jesus.

To be honest, I’m still working on this one. It resurfaced again at the Together for the Gospel conference as Matt Chandler was speaking. I realized I was more focused on my despair over the item that weren’t getting done on my “to-do” list, and not on the hope that is in the finished work of Christ. The doer in me, still thinks it’s about what I do, and not about what Christ has done. Still learning …

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