Tuesday, July 1, 2014

All Tapped Out - A Danger to Our Ministry (or, at least, not very good for it)

A lot of people think "Oh yay! Summer time!"... until they're about halfway through it, when they realize they have overextended themselves. Of course, this isn't always reserved for summertime. Some people have a habit of overextending themselves no matter what time of year it is.

In our zealous desire to say "yes" to those we care about... or, to anyone for that matter... we find ourselves more and more saying "no" to our own needs. I'd give my own personal list of tasks I've put upon myself, or had put upon me, the past couple months - but that would be much too long of a list. But, it has been enough that it has kept me busy from early morning until early morning, cutting into every aspect of my life.

The result of all of this?

I have failed to spend very much quality time with my children. I have probably only seen my husband a total of an hour a day, and I'm usually busy doing something else at the time. I haven't been a very good friend to those who have needed my friendship. My blog - it's been a chore to write even once a week, if I've even succeeded at that. I've been cranky with those who care about me. I haven't taken time for prayer. I have not been a good friend, neighbor, mother, wife, employee, Christian, etc. I just haven't the time or energy to be a "good" anything.

I stumbled on this article a week ago: 9 Results of Being an Exhausted Leader

This list  is true regardless of what role we play in life. And, speaking just from a ministry point of view - these results can be harmful. I'm sure many of my pastor friends will understand (and probably have seen most of these in themselves at one point or another).

This list leads to people dropping out of ministry, or at best, making themselves very poor ministers. It's not easy to teach God's Word when we're exhausted and don't want to even be around people. It's not easy to spread a message of God's Love and Grace, when we just want to criticize people, or when we don't believe we're worthy of spreading that message. We don't want to immerse ourselves in prayer when we just want to hide from even God.

When we find ourselves getting to this point we need to...

Drop things that aren't important.
Take some much needed "me-time."
DO immerse yourself in prayer.
DO immerse yourself in an activity you truly enjoy - one that does not exhaust, but rather rejuvenates
Remember you are one of God's beloved children, and bask in that joy and relief for a few minutes
Be honest with those around you. No one expects you to be perfect... but if they don't know you're exhausted, they're going to keep coming.
Remember that what you do is appreciated - even if people aren't very good at showing that appreciation. 

That's just what I can think of off the top of my head. If anyone has any additional "how to keep from becoming exhausted with ministry (or life in general)" ideas, I'd love to hear them!

God bless!

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