It has been quite some time since I last posted on this blog - sorry for the delay! The time away from all things social has been great, though. As a husband, father, son, brother, uncle, friend, pastor, neighbor, grass cutter, leader, cousin, church elder, movie lover, community member, occasional house cleaner & grocery getter, sports fanatic, news junkie, employee, PS3 gamer, and all around guy, my life sometimes gets out of balance. Seriously, my life gets to running a million directions - most of them good - but I just find myself getting run down physically and emotionally, frustrated, and eventually spiritually dead inside. That's right, a pastor spiritually dead. (It happens more than you'd think.)
I forget that first and foremost I am a Follower of Jesus Christ.
Our summer here in Bluffton has been hotter than usual. A few weeks back I undertook re-landscaping our entire yard, all the way around the house, tearing out bushes and trees, planting new grass, laying weed barrier, mulch, and rocks - all over 4 days in 95 degree 100% humidity. Karrie and the girls were in Indiana during all of this, so at the end of each day I simply came inside the house completely drenched in sweat, and crashed. After a few days my body started to revolt! My back hurt, my arms were sore, my skin was sunburnt ... While I wasn't a wreck, I was totally spent!
While I don't run into that kind of physical exhaustion regularly, I do run into it quite a bit spiritually. I run and run and run and run. I give and listen to others and pour myself out as much as I can. I try to teach and lead my girls at home. I try to love and support my wife. I try to serve with passion and effectiveness at the church. I SPEND all that I have.
But this summer I'm returning to a few core thoughts that are helping me stay more balanced in my spiritual life. Here are a few things that God is impressing on me to help keep me balanced:
- I NEED TO BE FILLED
I've never been a big water drinker, but coming in from those hot days of landscaping nothing feels better than a huge glass of water. In fact, I filled up all day as I was doing the yard work. Filling up with water all day enabled me to continue working. It is the same spiritually. Filling up in small amounts throughout our "work days" - reading, listening to some David Crowder, praying, listening to a podcast of a sermon, whatever it takes - keeps us balanced and efficient. When I neglect to be-refilled spiritually, I'm out of balance.
- I NEED TO BE CHALLENGED
Anne Frank said, "Laziness may appear attractive, but work gives satisfaction." When I am the least challenged, I am the least motivated, and that is when I tend to slip into laziness and apathy. When I am spiritually lazy and emotionally apathetic, I am out of balance.
- I NEED TO REST
There is a difference between resting and being lazy. When I sleep through the night after a long day at work no one accuses me of being lazy, but when I've sat around and done/accomplished nothing for 3 days no one accuses me of resting. The imbalance most people struggle with dances between the two, when I refuse healthy rest because I don't want to be lazy, or when I allow my times of rest to stretch over into laziness. I NEED rest, especially after a heavy or overwhelming season of hard work. When I refuse or abuse rest, I am out of balance.
- I NEED TO BE FOCUSED
The days that I come to the office without a plan or a direction are my least productive days. These are the days I find more information on imdb.com than anyone should have time for. The sad part of it is that I leave the office more frustrated and distracted than when I arrived! This is true of my spiritual life as well. Settling for the status quo is the quickest and most unnoticeable way to deafen your heart to the voice of the Holy Spirit. When I am spiritually unfocused and unaware, I am out of balance.
- I NEED TO BE SAVED
That may sound too simple and a bit strange, but it is none-the-less true. Sometimes we run so hard and so long and so fast that we forget this very simple truth: we all need a Savior. It's very easy to see how everyone else needs to be saved and to buy into the lie that I have to be the one to save them, but that's not true. Everyone does need to be saved, but I am not the answer, Christ is. I am in need of a Savior just like (if not more than) everyone else. When my arrogance overtakes reality ... when my drive to accomplish replaces my desire to serve ... when I get to the point of forgetting that I need Christ more than He needs me, I'm out of balance.
And so, as I pass the peak of summer and begin looking to the second half of the year, here's to a balanced and productive rest of the year. May God help me balance my life and pull me closer to Him!