There are days when the pace of life literally leaves me in a mess of tears. Amidst what seems like endless opportunities & responsibilities my soul sometimes feels starved for time; my heart desperately trying to savor every sacred moment. Time may not be mine to control but it is mine to steward. To spend on the things that make my heart & soul come alive. To intentionally invest in the stories & lives of those around me.
I love these words from Ann Voskamp that have become a “Reminder to Self” in those moments when I feel like there is no possible way to slow time…
Time is a relentless river. It rages on, a respecter of no one. And this, this is the only way to slow time: When I fully enter time’s swift current, enter into the current moment with the weight of all my attention, I slow the torrent with the weight of me all here. I can slow the torrent by being all here. I only live the full life when I live fully in the moment. And when I’m always looking for the next glimpse of glory, I slow and enter. And time slows. Weigh down this moment in time with attention full, and the whole of time’s river slows, slows, slows. (One Thousand Gifts pg. 68)
Do you ever feel starved for time? How do you slow it down?
I was there once upon a time. Feels like a lifetime ago but it’s only been a few years since I walked away from that work. Three years as “volunteer staff” in college & two years as official staff at a church plant of sorts was enough to burn me out.
For a long time, I wanted to blame the church for that. The pastor. The people. It was definitely someone else’s fault that I got burned out. That I walked away feeling defeated, used, mistreated, & ready to jump on the “I love Jesus just not church” bandwagon.
As I find myself two years later already quite involved in church again & enjoying it, I’ve had to own something – it wasn’t church that burned me out, it was my approach to it.
Being my stubborn self I had to be burned to the ground before I could grow back healthier. There was no telling me anything to help me put out the fire before it raged out of control. I needed to learn how to set healthy boundaries. I needed to learn it was okay to say no, to step back. I needed to walk in humility without the mindset of “If I don’t do it, it won’t get done.”
In the beauty of the ashes I found those lessons. I found an identity apart from my work. I found a relationship with God that wasn’t based on my doing for Him, but on my being with Him.
I’d be lying if I said I had it all figured out. That I knew how to put into practice those things I’ve learned. But the truth is whether I like not the Martha in me, the taskmaster, still rears it’s ugly head where there are things to get done.
But that’s not the church’s fault. That’s not a pastor’s fault. Volunteers’ fault. A congregation’s fault. No, no one can own that except me.
I was reading the latest Catalyst Monthly newsletter this week and came across an article from Justin Wise about burnout in the church. While the burnout part resonated with me because I think I’ve been there, the line that really caught my heart’s attention was this one:
“While the intent behind ordination is good and true, unfortunately it has built an artificial distinction between “professional” Christians and “regular” Christians.”
(I will apologize now for the soapbox I may climb on during the next few moments)
Even being on staff at a church, I totally get this because I feel it. I feel like many people look at me as only “semi-professional” because I don’t have a degree from a seminary that hangs on my wall. If I’m honest, this is something that way back in the cobwebs of my heart bothers me almost daily. The feeling of not being quite good enough, not quite as qualified as someone with that degree.
Perhaps part of the reason it bothers me so much is I don’t understand the reasoning behind that thought process. I could hypothesize about it, but I won’t…at least for now.
What about you? Have you experienced the “more qualified” mindset – from either side? What do you think the reasoning is for it?