Time to…

Priorities, busyness, and the spiritual dimension of taking on others burdens

It’s really hard to believe it’s been over a month since I posted a blog.  This wasn’t my choice.  I’ve had a lot of really great inspirational moments over the past month or so.

I have found time to listen to some good audio books while driving, flying or being otherwise engaged on something where my mind was free to listen.  One of those books is Walking With God by John Eldredge.  It’s interesting how John shares his life experiences and his walk with God as well as spiritual warfare.

I found it difficult to accept the spiritual battles and his perspective at first, but at the same time I clearly identify with his experiences to remain holy and pure.

One particularly interesting perspective that I hadn’t thought about regarding spiritual warfare is the enemy’s ability to spread like a virus to those battling for or helping someone who is vulnerable.  According to John, the enemy uses the same exploits, lies, and deception, and spirit against us that is used against those we are trying to help.

This past year, our church has been involved in the V-One initiative.  We try to help one vulnerable person every day.  In spiritual terms, according to John’s insight, this means that as we help vulnerable people we are also exposing ourselves to the same evil that is oppressing them.  Therefore, we should be properly prepared and aware of what is coming and arm ourselves accordingly.

One of the areas that I’ve been struggling with is being too busy.  I have been working a lot of overtime and carrying way more than I probably should in my job.  It’s clearly effected every other area of my life.  I’ve gained weight, partly due to the stress, but also because of the long hours sitting and lack of exercise. I’ve missed time with family and the time I have had was rushed… less focused on the relationship and more on the get it done.  I’ve had less time to prepare for service projects and I generally feel like I’ve been scraping by. My personal projects, writing, and ministries have all suffered.

I had been praying for a friend of mine who had a difficult decision to make and was concerned about his relationships with others in the transition.  Later I learned that he’d been fighting the same busyness issues that we were both battling that same spirit.

John’s book made me think about what things are hindering my ability to serve God. Busyness was a the top of my list.  A job becoming a distraction was not something I had thought of the enemy using to derail my mission, yet it was there front and center.

In this situation values and priorities matter.  What I mean to say is that even when we have a lot of work to do, or things to keep busy, there are certain things that we choose to continue and others that we stop doing.  We don’t stop eating or taking care of ourselves (at least to some minimum standard) because we know that these things are necessary for life. But we certainly scale things back or may even stop watching television, working out, or doing a hobby to spend that time doing something else.  For some of us, getting that one thing done consumes us and that’s what sometimes happens to me.  This time I found myself prioritizing things a little differently.  One of those was Renovate weekend.

I’d signed up to house and spend all day on Saturday with the 6th and 7th grade boys from our church.  Together we served a meal at the Samaritan House.  I’m really proud of the boys for doing this and I really enjoyed our time together, but I was completely and utterly exhausted. There were plenty of times before going into the weekend when I thought to myself, “I wish I hadn’t committed to this”, but I am so glad I did and I am glad I prioritized my time with the youth and adding something into their lives and the lives of others rather than working another weekend away.

Not only did God provide me the energy to get through it, but He also gave me a much needed break from the busyness, calmed my heart and helped me find the right balance to continue on stronger than before. He refueled my spirit and gave me deeper relationships with each of the young men in my group, my friend, the people we served at Samaritan House.  He showed me that even when we’re tired and the outlook is grim, He continues to provide what we need to take on the burdens of others.

 

 

 

 

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