January 27, 2012
Before my summer in Denver I never would have considered that I needed to care for myself spiritually, outside of spending time in scriptures and going to church on Sunday. My quiet times consisted of reading, pray and go get your day underway. I was in out and on the computer checking facebook. My prayer life consisted of short quip prayers for strength and I constantly wrestled with things outwardly, trying to get my sense of pride from what others said or did, looking for comfort in friends rather than God.
Then I spent that week in silence, suddenly I found I couldn’t speak my mind, I couldn’t seek comfort from others because I couldn’t verbally communicate my problems, I was backed into a spiritual corner…Burnt out on relationships and feeling rejected I had no choice but to surrender and that was when the corner became and open space.
Flash forward to a few days I ago. I was running as fast I could, warn out from my interterm class my roommate and I decided to move into a new, more comfortable room. I spent my “off” weekend packing and preparing to move down the hall to our new room. At the same time I was helping move out my dear friend Carrie who had just graduated and so I spent Saturday moving things, skipping two meals and finally resting when my friend and her parents took me to dinner at the local pizza shop, followed by a trip to the towns Coffee Shop.
After these two hours or so of relaxing I came back and continued to put together my new room, several things still needed to be moved and plugged in and prepared. But it didn’t end there! Sunday after church we moved the rest of the stuff and cleaned our old room and relaxed to some football. Monday morning class started at 8am for me and so I ran through the day, again without rest. Tuesday was the same, three classes, starting at 9:15 and ending at 2:25, the only redemption in this was that they are in the same classroom, again no rest. My sleep schedule also had no rhythm at this point with watching TV shows that I very much enjoyed keeping me up on Monday and not sleeping well any of the other nights.
Wednesday I discovered that because there are only two men in our choir we were being moved out and the choir was going to become and all woman’s choir. This caused me to start feeling the strain of the last few days. I sat in my room and wrote in my journal about how much I was going to miss being in a group ensemble, almost emo-esque in my response to the situation. I didn’t work out that night but went to bed early instead finally acknowledging that the depression I was feeling was because of a lack of rest. Throw in the big weekend we had at 10:31 Life Ministries and you’ve got the ingredients for major burn-out.
Thursday Morning I still felt it, all through bible study and classes, I finally decided I needed to get out of here, to go and just spend time with God. I was going to go to the lake but found myself at my home church instead, sitting on the front pew listening to the clock tick, praying, writing in the journal I’d brought with me.
There God met me with open arms, I had been running from rest, saying “I need to get through this day, then I’ll rest.” I hadn’t been running from God per say, I’d spent Tuesday Night with Him as I prepared and delivered the Love Sterling Bible Study. But I had been running from rest, allowing myself to be burnt out by my experiences. I was far from healthy or in a good place, instead I fought yelling at people and even allowing God to confront me about it.
But there in that dark sanctuary I once again encountered my savior, in his full glory He whispered to me, telling me who I am, what I am here for. Just like on that mountain in Evergreen Colorado during that week of silence and in the middle of the Labyrinth. God started to reshape and renew me, reminding me that He is the only authority on who I am and my only source of strength.
I walked back feeling refreshed and restored, strengthened by the rejuvenation I found myself joyful again. The monster I could be once again subdued. The feeling I thought I’d receive through a night of sleep God gave me through time with Him!
When we get burned out one of the things we try to do is cover it up, we try to run from it and hide from it. We don’t want to slow down, we don’t want to take a step back, our goals and needs have to be met and the only way we are going to get them met is by yelling them. At least we think!
Jesus understood that the father provided for our needs, in Matthew 6:26 Christ says “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (ESV). Yes, I know this passage is talking about physical needs, but if God is going to take care of our physical needs then why would he not care about our spiritual needs as well? Why do we seek other means to revive us, these means will only drain us and burn us out in the end. They will destroy us, beat us down and put us in the situations that lead to getting hurt.
God says “Come to me and rest” and yet we forget that so easily and start to look towards other things, even jobs as means of rest. The mentality that we need to do more, produce more and ultimately play less. Christ is calling us to Him, reaching out to us with both arms, saying come and lay these things down, listen to my voice and follow me.
Once we learn to quiet our spirits like the psalmist in Psalm 130 suggests we will really start to hear God. After Denver my mornings consisted and will retain the constant prayer while I go through my morning activities and read my bible, stopping to listen to God and allow Him to speak and revive me and work in me.
God can use us if we aren’t healthy, but we won’t be as effective for the gospel as we could be if we listened and allowed God to work in us and make us holy.
So get into scripture and listen to God, allow Him to work in your life, to fill the process of sanctification to its completion and through that you will discover Him and grow in relationship with our BIG God who loves us perfectly in our imperfection.