This real life pastor gets tired sometimes. Like most folks, I over-commit, over-function and rationalize all my busy-ness because I’m “doing God’s work.” The thing is, the cells in my body can’t distinguish between God’s work and other work. To my body, work is work and when I’ve done too much of it, it gets tired. Really tired.
The thing I hate is when exhaustion hits on a Sunday morning. I remember one time several years ago falling asleep during the Silent Confession. I fell asleep leading worship! Man. That was too tired.
A couple of weeks ago, I was dragging again. Often when I drag, I say a little prayer: “God, please use me, despite my exhaustion. And, if you can, give me a little extra energy.” I was, after all, working for God, right? A little miracle in the synapse action of my brain shouldn’t be too much to ask. Here’s how God responded: “Honey. I’m not going to be able to use you until you get some rest.”
When I received that response, I realized that I was asking God to take better care of me than I was taking of myself. It wasn’t much different than a teenager asking God to help her ace a test for which she hadn’t studied. “God, give me energy, even though I haven’t done what I know I should do to create that energy for myself.” God isn’t a puppeteer. God doesn’t want to do our lives for us. God wants to work with us in our lives, co-creating with us a life of wonder and joy and love. Doesn’t that sound like lots more fun than simply saving us from ourselves?
When that “Aha!” came in the middle of the worship service, I realized I was going to have to muddle through somehow, foggy-headed though I was. God wasn’t going to save me from myself this time. I had to live with the consequences of neglecting self-care. So, I did. I muddled through…I muddled through worship, muddled through Sunday school, muddled through all the hand-shaking, muddled through lunch with Allen, went home… and slept.
I can’t be sure, but just before dropping off, I think I heard these words: “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
Peace (and rest!) for your journey…