When is the last time your perspective about something changed dramatically?
In other words, when is the last time you had a complete about-face after an in-your-face confrontation?
For me, about two weeks and continuing…
I shared in Running on Empty God recently confronted me about the work-rest imbalance in my life and ministry; exposing my sin in believing “rest was a luxury I couldn’t afford to indulge in too often.” Since then, He’s been teaching me about the vital importance of rest while debunking the Enemy’s lies I’ve held as truth in regards to rest in general and the Sabbath in particular.
Today and in the coming weeks I’m pulling back the curtain to unmask that work-rest imbalance to reveal why this confrontation needed to happen. My goal in doing this is two-fold:
- You’ll glean hope and truth from what God is teaching me about work and rest and apply it to your life
- God’s Word will empower you to break the cycles of over-work, exhaustion, and burnout before the weariness erodes your faith, health, work, and relationships.
One of the current personal struggles I have with my ministry is I don’t have a team. For almost two years I’ve been pleading with God to give me one because I often feel overwhelmed by all the tasks I need to do in following His leading in my life. My schedule is consistently overfull and “behind” seems to be a way of life. And I hate it! The stress this floods into my life is toxic and destructive.
Some of these tasks include:
- Creating graphics for blog posts and social media
- Writing and scheduling social media posts
- Writing, editing, and publishing blog posts
- Gathering resources, researching, and writing Bibles studies
- Outlining, organizing, and writing for the upcoming podcast
On paper, this is “no big deal.” Then I start working through the list and realize how many hours, days, weeks, and months these elements take.
The thing is, I ENJOY DOING ALL OF IT!
- Creating graphics is therapeutic—I love creating pretty things to bless and encourage others.
- Writing uplifting messages for social media fills me with joy, as does connecting with people online.
- Writing blog posts is my favorite way to connect with you on a personal level and add value to your life. Plus, it enables me to utilize my passions for mentoring and discipleship.
- And all the things that go into writing Bible studies invigorates me! Seriously, grabbing coffee and talking deeply about Jesus and His Word…YES!!! That is so my wheel-house.
- And the upcoming podcast! God has tweaked my direction a bit, but I’m even more excited about this than I was before! (Who knew that could be possible?)
The problem is, Satan knows all of this and uses it to his advantage. He knows where the cracks in my armor are and slips in his lies. Each well-aimed tormenting arrow hits my insecurities, worries, and fears dead-on. His goal is not to mess with me, it’s to destroy me.
And Jesus said, NO MORE!
After I wrote Running on Empty my pleading for a team turned into begging. I tried to convince God a team would lighten my load and give me the and ability to rest. To take Sabbath. That trying to do everything He is calling me to do is too hard to do alone and keep balanced with my other family responsibilities and personal needs.
Have you ever done this?
And then today God confronted me with this:
HOW CAN I GIVE YOU A TEAM IF YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO LEARN HOW TO WORK WELL AND REST WELL WITHOUT ONE? WHY SHOULD I REWARD YOUR DISOBEDIENCE? YOU WILL ONLY ADD MORE TO YOUR PLATE RATHER THAN REDISTRIBUTE AND DELEGATE. YOU NEED TO LEARN TO KEEP THESE TWO THINGS IN BALANCE AND BE AN EXAMPLE TO THOSE YOU LEAD BEFORE I INTRODUCE YOU TO THOSE I’VE CHOSEN FOR YOUR TEAM.
I was stunned into silence.
What could I say except, please forgive me for my sin and my unbelief?
I knew I’d been making excuses as to why I “can’t” rest. Why I needed to keep pushing forward. And now I had to face the fact I’d been lying to myself. I hadn’t been following Him as faithfully as I told myself I was. Instead, I was leading Him! Taking control. Trying to get His steps to follow mine.
Now I feel the weight of conviction in my heart as I digest His words deep in my soul.
It’s time to repent and follow His lead—for real this time! It’s time to walk in 100% obedience.
According to John 14:21, we’re responsible for 100% of God’s Word. We don’t get to pick out which parts we want to apply and ignore the rest. We can’t accept 100% of the blessings, heed 98% of the warnings, and obey 96.6% of the principles and precepts, and expect to live victoriously. Because it’s at that 2% and at that 3.4% that our moral character cracks and and erosion begins. On the outside, everything can look perfect, stable, secure, and strong—but under the surface there’s a massive sinkhole developing that we won’t realize us there until after everything collapses.
Ever since I fully surrendered to God’s call to write, I’ve been caught in a destructive cycle that’s been fueled by my insecurities, worries, and fears.
I think not.
Maybe you can relate to this cycle:
I worked 12+ hours a day, 7-days a week while trying to keep all my other “life” plates spinning. I would write, edit, post, comment, communicate, etc. while at my kids’ practices and events, when I ate meals, before I turned out the light at night, (you get the picture). I would “go strong” for several weeks “getting it all done.” And then I would stop. Utterly exhausted. Completely burned out. Unable to write a word or create a graphic…And my attitude during all this?…well, you can probably imagine—Eventually I would feel a little rested, never quite recovered and restored, and “get back to work.”
Rinse and repeat.
I was aware of the cycle and the inconsistency it’s brought with it. And my answer to breaking this cycle was a team.
God’s answer is obedience. A work-rest balance where I honor His Sabbath.
Over the next several weeks I’ll be sharing what God is teaching me. The fresh perspective He’s giving me. In sharing my story, I hope you will also learn these lessons and apply them to your story. Remember, Jesus came so we might HAVE LIFE and have it ABUNDANTLY!
Let’s not allow Satan to steal one more blessing, kill our ambition, or destroy one more dream with his lies. Let’s learn what it is to rest and determine to obediently lay down our agenda and enter God’s restorative Sabbath.
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