Slowing Down to Fill Up!
Psalm 46:10, “He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
Isaiah 40:31, “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
It was a crisp February evening, and the dinner guests were making their way into the building. The valet staff were busy parking guests’ cars all over the parking lot. The concierge greeted guests, and directed them to the
My body felt weak. I walked around the room. The tables were arranged neatly around the room. On the tables were immaculately laid auction items. There were big baskets. There were small baskets. As I walked around placing my number on the bidding sheets, I felt dizzy. My body felt weak. My knees struggled to support my frame. Sweat covered my forehead. My heart rate beat as fast as is if I had been running a marathon. I stumbled a little. Then I leaned over a table to support myself. I sat down at that table, while taking gulps of cold water.
Noticing something wrong, Rutendo came over to check on me. I told her I was OK. I just needed time to sit down and rest a little. I had not taken a rest since 8 weeks earlier. I had been working over 10 hours a day, 7 days a week since mid-November of the previous year. I had been busy fundraising, preaching, teaching, and carrying out all other good ministry duties. I had thought that sleep and rest are overrated. Who had time for that. Sleeping slowed me down. I needed to be busy. For the past week, I had been waking up in the middle of the night, sweating, with my heart racing. I had ignored this feeling. I thought it would go away.
Rutendo went and called a local pastor, whom I respected. The pastor rebuked me and challenged me to go to the hospital. I told him I would go after my speech that was scheduled for that evening. He walked away. I thought I had convinced him I was OK. Within a few moments, I saw an ambulance pull up to the front of the building. The EMT’s came towards me. My pastor friend smiled and confessed. “I called 9-1-1. You need to go see the doctor,” I glanced over, and saw Rutendo crying. She reminded me how stubborn I had been. I had refused to go see the doctor earlier.
Soon, I found myself in the Emergency Room, hooked up to the EKG. The doctor came in to announce the diagnosis. He told me I was suffering from exhaustion – an extreme case of fatigue. My body was trying to tell me to slow down. He asked me what my profession is. After telling him my story, I kind of chuckled. He reminded me that I cannot save the world by myself. He reminded me I needed to take a rest. I needed to take a day off work each week. I needed to take a vacation each year. His prescription was that I needed to take care of myself. Ministry is a marathon, not a sprint, he said. I almost experienced a ministry burn out.
It is detrimental to your health and sanity to pursue a vision at the expense of living it out. It’s to our own destruction that we chase after dreams, forgetting to enjoy the blessings we ave received. It’s the 21st Century’s biggest lie that a full schedule defines our self worth. Our identity is in Christ, not on our full calendars. We should be inextricably tied to Christ than to be slavishly chained to our careers. Stop. Breathe in. Observe the Sabbath. Slow down. Why run yourself into the ground?
- Are you running on fumes?
- Are you sick and tired of your schedule?
- Is your day running you, rather than you running the day?
- In your busyness, how is your health?
- In your busyness, how is your spiritual health?
- What do you need to cut or change so you can take a handle of your life?
- What would you lose if you make fist things, first?
- What is stopping you from slowing down?
- What is God saying to you about your rest?