Taking care by taking off
I bumped into a church member at Panera Bread a few weeks ago. She said that it was a God thing that i walked in the door because she was sitting there thinking about me. She asked if she could visit with me for a quick minute. “Of course!” was my response. She asked how I was doing, how I was feeling, and how she could support me. In that moment I remember feeling very drained. I thought about my time away from the office and realized how it had been shrinking. My Friday’s and Saturday’s, typically reserved as days off, had been filled lately with ministry events (Basketball games, school concerts, Christian concerts, etc.). I had only in that month began to struggle for the first time in a while with filling my schedule to the point of overflow. It is hard sometimes to turn down offers to watch kids play sports or to see them in their school play. But sometimes no is the appropriate answer in ministry. I know that I can take care of myself by taking off. Galatians 6:9-10 says, “Let us not become weary in the doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” In order for me to be able to live out these scriptures in Galatians I have to take care of myself by taking off from ministry. We must be willing to refresh and rejuvenate in stillness, solitude, and surrender to God outside of our pursuit of others for the Kingdom.
I looked at this older (notice my word choice…..oldER…not old….OLDER) member of our congregation, humbled by her concern for my spirit, and I responded sincerely. “Ask me if I’m taking my days off. Ask me what I did over the weekend to relax. And ask me how I’m doing in my walk with the Lord. And thank you so much for caring.” It was an awesome moment…made even more awesome by the fact that she continues to ask me every time that she sees me, “Mark, how were your days off this week?”
My calendar has been filled lately with events, even on the weekends. Friday night was Winter Jam at Thompson Boling Arena from 5:00pm until after Midnight. Last night was the Farragut High School Musical, Grease, for most of the night. Great things…but on the weekend. I’m now compensating for those weekend off day events by taking some time during the week. I don’t want to lose my spirit and my passion for others. I don’t want to STOP taking advantage of those opportunities to pursue people for Christ. So I’m going to continue to work hard and to do a better job of taking care of myself by taking off. How about you? Any solitude lately? Any activities in the outdoors that you adore lately? Any time off lately?…I mean REAL TIME OFF and AWAY? Something to think about! Praying for you all today!