For years I followed a predictable schedule. I got up every morning at the same time, read my bible, and got ready for work. My morning commute was followed by a full day of work. I would return home, eat dinner, relax and then go to bed. The next day I would repeat the process. I even woke up at the same time on the weekends.
Two years ago that all changed. My hours at work grew longer. My leisure hours were reduced. My commute became longer due to an increase in traffic. I overbooked and overcomitted my time at work, home and church. My joy and productivity decreased in every area of my life.
I knew something had to change. But it felt impossible. There were to many people who depended on me. There were things I did not feel I could delegate to others. Looking back I realize how foolish this sounds.
God does not need me to accomplish the work of ministry. He can use anyone or no one. I am the one who needs him to work through me. I am blessed to be present when he is at work.
Outwardly, I appeared to be doing fine. I worked with hurting people and continued to care for them. I did not realize my effectiveness was diminishing.
But I was headed toward burnout. I woke up one day depressed, angry and exhausted. I didn’t recognize myself. I honestly didn’t like myself either.
I knew what the problem was. In the midst of caring for others I had forgotten to take time to care for myself. I had forgotten to take time to replenish my soul.
I called out to God and found that he had not moved. He was not angry. He did not scold me about my self sufficient, self inflicted, and ego induced condition. Instead he offered me grace and invited me to experience his rest.
I have taken some practical steps to ensure this happens.
I am scheduling my quiet time earlier in the day. I have blocked out time for physical exercise. When presented with a new ministry opportunity I am asking for time to prayerfully consider whether this is the best use of my time and abilities.