I have been stepping back from some volunteer positions. Some people have noticed and asked why that is, especially with my occasional blog rant about getting up off our seats and doing more to serve in the Church. Well, between working 2 jobs, going to college, being a husband to my wife, a father to my kids, preparing for a new baby, blogging, and the committees, meetings, and such, my life had effectively become “crazy busy.”
As I looked at my full plate, I had to be honest with myself. Not only was I burning out, but in my zeal to serve the church, and God, I began to let my family suffer. How can I effectively serve my family if I am away 4 or 5 or 6 evenings a week? And If I am away 4 or 5 evenings a week and burning out with the workload, then I am not giving 100% to anything that I am doing. Only giving 60% to a committee is not fair to the others on the committee, and only giving 60% to my family, and even less to God in devotions, is not only unfair, it is sinful. Ecclesiastes 9:10 says that whatever my hand finds to do, that I should do it with all my might.
Colossians 3:23 says , “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” Was I serving the Lord? Or was I trying to look good? Surely my intentions were good. You see, I had been a lazy, indifferent person most of my life. I did not really care about the church or serving the church. I had beer to drink, video games to play, and all that committee, bible studying, serving others stuff would interfere with my favourite evening hobbies! So, when I came to faith, the strangest thing happened…I began to grow in love for God and the Church. I wanted to serve. I sought out ways to serve. So a few years ago I dove, with fervent zeal, head first into all things Church related…committees, and meetings, and groups, outreach…I loved it.
But as time wore on, I found out that I could not say, “No.” As the commitments piled up, those that I once enjoyed became drudgery. I began grumbling about meetings, about working, about the kids, about…my wife (sorry hon.)
So needless to say, I took on more than I could handle. My initial involvement was motivated mostly by love and thankfulness, but as time wore on, my busyness was partly motivated by my pride. Was it my desire to please everyone? Perhaps I did not want to look bad? Maybe narcissism? Perhaps a bit of legalism? Not sure exactly, but the ironic thing is that all the extracurricular church stuff began to take my focus off of Christ. Now, let me be clear, I am not saying to not serve in the Church. Absolutely we should serve in the Church! What I am saying is that I needed to find the line between my lazy-beer-drinking-entertainment-seeking-indifference, and the I-can-do everything-burnout-mode. As Kevin Deyoung wrote in his book Crazy Busy, “It’s about effectively serving others in the ways I’m best able to serve and in the ways I am most uniquely called to serve.” It’s not about doing everything. Now I am involved in a couple things, and I can serve my family in the the way I have been called by the Lord.
We need wisdom to know when God is calling us to serve sacrificially and when He is calling us to say no and rest. Ultimately we need God and prayer and His Word more than we need anything else, so we should consider making that a fundamental priority in our daily lives and trying to structure other things around that.
So that is my focus this September as the busyness starts up again.
I have to also say that taking a few weeks off from the internet was very refreshing! It was good to refocus, recharge, and prepare for the busyness of September.
It is good to be back.