More Wholly His
It crept up on me. August padded onto the calendar on soundless cat paws. Where did summer go? September’s just around the corner and I’m still trying to figure out who vaporized May and June.
I know where summer went. Vacation Bible School. Camp. Travel. Seminars. Parks and rec programs. Volunteer endeavors. Ministry. Planning, coordinating, researching and writing. Busy, busy, busy.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this.
I’m on sabbatical from heading up Children’s Ministries. It’s supposedly my “summer off.” To “Be still and know that I am God" and be "led beside still waters." But I’m running on Empty because I’ve been running all summer. Well, not quite. 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 you souls?” Didn’t he say “my yoke is easy and my burden is light?” (Matthew 11:28-30, NIV)
So why I am 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?
Short answer: 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, submerged “in ministry”?
These are all well and good, but without balance – including attention to our own hearts and souls - the demands of ministry can consume us. Erode our joy, peace, and contentment. Sap our strength, stiffen our hearts.
Some of us can get so busy “serving Jesus” that Matthew 11 seems… incongruous. Rest feels… irresponsible. Look around the local ministerial association, church board or Bible study. How many haggard, lined looks can you count? How many fatigue-fogged faces, eyes glazed with 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? Run so fast and so hard that we collapse, or induce a heart attack? No wonder we burn out and lose our seasons of summer, our rest for heart, soul, mind and body.
I’m sitting at the kitchen table this morning with a bowl of Special K, my good dog at my feet. I’m replaying the past few months in my head - and sighing. Here's what I write:
Was all that really necessary? Did I have to chair another committee? Take on another project? Fill up every square on my Day Minder? 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.
His plans. His priorities. His 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 Him.
It may mean riding bikes with my kids. A walk on the beach. A Puccini aria. A long soak in a hot tub. Hiking in the Cascades. Enjoying a sunset, an orchid, a slice of watermelon. It means being deliberate about setting aside time for renewal and restoration so His heart and mine beat as one. So the rest of the year and those that follow are more holy. And I'm more wholly His.
The author of a ridiculous number of musings, essays, and articles, Kristine Lowder has also written 12 books - two of which are really, really funny. (The others may be "funny" too, but no one's perfect.) When not buried in her favorite hobby, raspberry white chocolate cheesecake, Kristine enjoys reading, camping and hiking in the Cascades with her husband, their four sons, and their incurably affable yellow Lab, Eve. Visit her at: http://www.KristineLowder.com