Break Glass in Case of Emergency Part Two

I swore I was going to take it easy on the blogging until the New Year and focus on things that have to be done (like our impending church move) and being with friends and family. But I haven’t been able to shake this feeling of weariness, of feeling about burned out and just plain tired.

I think I’ve been kind of trapped in a loop/trap, all of it a pride thing, really. I find it really frustrating and depressing when something I was expecting to enjoy or use to relax doesn’t go exactly as planned (despite the fact that I’m all about not over-planning and improvising). I also can’t stand being introspective to the point of being maudlin or be seen as whining about anything. It’s the classic American quandry, wanting to be strong and independent (despite our need for community).

Now, there are more than a few things I suck at. Taking Sabbath is one of them. Letting folks be a friend to me is another (that’s a tale for another day). Sometimes friends rant at you (and since they are people I’ve chosen to speak into my life, they’ve earned the right). I have a friend whose anonymity I’ll protect by calling him RedWineGums. He’s been a special blessing as I’ve gotten to know him. This may have to serve as a Break Glass in Case of Emergency Part Two type post, as he reminds me of things (you’d think I’d remember since I’d written on them before) which we need to be re-reminded of on occasion:

We don’t have to be the strong men all the time. We don’t have to be the calm at the eye of the storm. We are allowed to have feelings. We are allowed to feel broken. And we are allowed to say we need help.

God appeared on a cloud and gave you this essential task that no-one else could perform did He?

A fear of perception is one way the enemy uses to get to us. Whether it’s fear of releasing yourself in worship, fear of talking to someone about God, or fear of raising how you’re feeling.

We get the idea that we should somehow be immune to the trials of simple human life because what we’re implicitly saying—when we are always the dependable one, always the strong one, always the reliable one—is that we are one. We stand alone as strong men.

Forgetting how much we need God. Forgetting how much our wives, children and friends pour into our lives. Forgetting that it’s only in our weakness and brokenness that God is truly glorified.

How can we live in community when we think we always have to give but never take? There is nothing wrong with saying that we need some help or encouragement or even some acceptance that we put in a hell of a lot of work at times. We’re not meant to seek after it, but neither are people meant to ignore it.

You’re not a whiner if you talk to some other person saying you feel burnt out and would like some encouragement or help with things. Community isn’t about you fulfilling the inbuilt Alpha male need to provide. It’s also about acknowledging when you need someone else to take that place

Let me leave you with this quote and this prayer he sent me (which I generalized so that we could all hear it):

“Well done for hanging on. When you were only going to the church. Well done. When you prayed even though you didn’t feel God. Well done. When you were ignored and passed by but still kept the faith. Well done.” –Jeff Lucas

Lord I ask that they would find the encouragement and comfort they need in You
Lord human words are one thing but let them first turn to You for their rest and recovery
Lord I pray for their mind right now
I come against any attacks of the enemy on my brethren
I speak wholeness, life, hope, faith and love to their lives

Actually, I kept waiting for him to say Take Your Ass Home (and yes, I will learn to start saying “no” to things. It’s practically a New Year’s Resolution. Practically. Hey, I can’t be expected to change overnight).

Hello Weariness, My Old Friend

I’m exhausted.

I’ll admit, I’m a constantly on the run sort of guy. Like many folks, I feel like one of those plate-spinners, constantly running back and forth, trying to keep the various plates of interest going, while thinking about trying to figure out a way to add another plate or two.

There is all sorts of church stuff going on, such as the details of our move. Since transitions present opportunities to re-imagine, we’ve been thinking through our ministries and brainstorming how to implement our vision and values.

Friends have been having on-going drama and we’ve been sorting through the mess of life together.

I have worries that I’m taking my family for granted and working on loving them better. I’ve been working on being more present for them when I’m around. Then there’s the pressure of the holiday season as we gear up for our annual Broaddus family Christmas party and prepare to navigate the minefield of in-laws during the holiday season.

On top of all of that, I’m not feeling 100% physically. Our cars have been breaking down. There are mounting bills. You know, life.

It’s easy to become busy for its own sake, trapped in a spiral of running around until you forget why it is you’re running in the first place. Rest goes against the credo of how we value hard work in (the mythological story of) America. Rest has come to be seen as akin to laziness, to the point where we neglect taking care of ourselves. I think that’s part of the lesson of the Sabbath, the day of rest.

Now, I suck at taking Sabbaths. Taking time off caught up in (the myth I tell myself in) the belief that if I don’t do these things, who will? Forgetting that there needs to be time to disengage and recover, time to pamper your soul and be renewed if we’re going to be effective long term rather than simply running ourselves into the ground.

We can only operate out of our own strength for so long before the physical demands of the daily grind sap our energy. Before the daily dings of life’s constant drama drains our emotional reserves. Before our minds, always growing, assimilating information, have our mental energy depleted to the point of our acuity, keenness, and insight being dulled. Before our spiritual energy, our fuel for being, is emptied.

Part of capturing a vision of Christ for your life is learning to rest in Him rather than constantly running around for Him. At least that’s the lesson I’m trying to learn.

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