Archive for April, 2010

Stressful

Posted: April 28, 2010 in General Life, Ministry
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Have you ever been on a plane?  There is usually someone who stands in front of the passengers and talks even though nobody is paying any attention.  There is one thing, in particular, though that seems to always stick out to me.  Something that never made a whole lot of sense.  This person keeps telling me that if there is a loss of cabin pressure, masks will magically fall from the ceiling to deliver much needed oxygen.  Simple enough, but they always say I should put my mask on before helping someone else put on theirs.  That seems pretty mean.  It’s like laughing at someone walking as you drive by because they don’t have a car (not that I do that every time I pass people walking).

Life is stressful.  I said it.  I’ll stand by it.  Jesus directs us to live without worry, but I have not quite mastered that yet.  I would like to think that I worry less than I did a decade ago, and probably even a couple of years ago, but it seems that the older I get, the more stress I have.  Also, the floor gets farther away, but that’s a different post for a different time.  I’m here to talk about stress today.

I have a lot on my plate, and things never seem to actually get easier.  I have a normal job, I serve at my church and I have a social life.  I don’t seem to be juggling it all very well lately.  I have a lot of things to do, and I never seem to have enough time to do them all.  That seems to be a common mantra for this modern world.  I hear it a lot.  Why do we seem to run around so much?  What happened to relaxation and quiet times?  We live in a new society where we  stay connected at all times to all people.  Cell phones, text messages, e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, blogs…  the list goes on.  How many ways are people able to reach you?  Do you ever shut everything off?  I know I don’t.

I think there are major issues with this new lifestyle of constant availability.  Where do we find time to rest?  If your boss/friend/family member/random person… can get a hold of you through some constantly monitored communication tool at any time of day, how do we even start to look for rest?  Do we even know what real rest looks like?  I think the key to finding a worry free life is rest.  Real rest.  Godly rest.  Jesus taught that we should not worry, but we set ourselves up to worry.  God never intended our lives to be so crazy.  Who turned us into a community of crazy people running around constantly with no true purpose?  Why do we continue to fall in line with society?  Why don’t we rest?

I am a single guy.  It has its merits, one of which is the availability to do whatever anyone asks me to do, whenever they ask.  I hear the “you’re not busy, you don’t have kids” argument so often that I want to scream when people even think about speaking those words.  Yet, I am single.  I have no wife, no kids and no dog.  Because of these apparent deficiencies I have busied myself with other things.  I work long hours, helping people and trying to minister to those whom God has put in my care.  I leave my house around 8am and get home around 10 or 11pm.  That’s my schedule most weekdays.  I spend at least 6 hours doing church things on Sunday and spend my Saturdays running around catching up on the things I didn’t get to during the week.  I am single.  I have no kids.  I have no built-in excuse to decline helping others.  I have no shield from the masses needing support or wanting help.  I also have a hard time turning people down.  I like people, and love helping others.  This can lead to a very stressful existence.

I recently took a break and went with a friend to his cabin in the woods for the weekend.  No cell phone, no computer.  That means no calls, no e-mail, no Facebook, no Twitter, no way for people to bother me.  It was amazing.  I brought my Bible and another book.  Rest.  Real rest.  Godly rest.  I felt at peace and able to hear that small, still voice again.  It was beautiful, but it didn’t last.  Once I got home I was thrown back into the daily grind and hit the ground running.  It has only been a few weeks, but it feels much longer since I was able to get away.

I have a hard time figuring out how to balance doing things with not doing things, but I am getting better.  I know that I need to find more time to relax and that I need to regularly focus on God, but life keeps getting in the way.  I know God wants me to have life and have it abundantly, but I think the idea is a more fulfilling life, not a filled life.  If I am to follow Jesus and have a full life, a life that means something, and honors God, I need to take more time to seek Him.  I need to get better at saying no to people, not to be mean, but to be able to help better.  It’s kind of like the plane.  When the oxygen masks pop out, you put yours on before helping others.  I think there is something to that, since it seems pretty hard to help others if you can’t breathe.