I recently had my annual interview with my conference superintendent. We talked about what was going on in the church, the joys and the struggles of ministry in a small town like Marengo, and I had a chance to talk about what I feel is a calling to revitalize small to medium sized churches like the one I am currently serving.
But about three fourths of the way through our conversation, he stopped me and said: A few times now you have used phrases like "in a rut," "tired," and "wears me out." What is going on with that?
I had not even realized that I had been doing it. And as I sat there and thought, my work had very little to do with why I was feeling that way. My ministry was feeling some of the side effects of what was going on in other parts of my life.
There is a lot going on in my extended family right now that also adds stress and conflict and emotional burdens to my life right now. So much so that as I sat in a funeral for a friend's grandparents this past weekend, the tears just would not stop. I'm mourning the loss of what was and it feels like we can never go back... the relationships are so damaged that I really cannot see a way forward. Carrying that pain is exhausting, but letting it go means that I have given up.
That conflict seems to also affect other relationships that are experiencing conflict... ones that would not have been so burdensome otherwise. When I see firsthand what happens when problems are not addressed, and then watch other people in my life make similar choices to sweep things under the rug, I cringe, imagining the worst of what might happen.
I am so grateful for my brothers who are right there beside me walking this hard road and I can already see the ways that my family has been brought closer together as we protect and love and support one another... and as we commit ourselves to talking about what is going on in our lives, instead of pretending.
Exercise? What's that?
The hard part about really loving your work is that it takes over your life if you let it. And I have. It has been so flexible lately that I don't have a routine for my home life. And so I'm doing good things and come home tired and instead of taking care of myself (especially my body), I sit in front of the television and let my brain turn into a pile of goo. Exercise gives endorphins and makes you feel good and I just have not been keeping up with it lately. But my mom and I are going to start holding one another accountable and that should help. =)
Our lives need balance and they need support. When one area of our relationships or work or health is not functioning fully, the whole system can fall apart. So take a good hard look... what is tiring you out? And what can you do to take that seriously?