In the education portion of my recent Stephen Ministry meeting, we learned about the need for balance between giving energy outward and restoring energy inward. Too much giving creates burnout. Too much rest produces sluggishness.
Where would you fall on that spectrum? You can probably guess where I am.
I have lists from when I was 8 years old. Nothing like a good list to put things in order! Take care of something, cross it off. Next thing. Next thing. A list maker must have more things to put on the list. Next thing. Next thing.
On an average day, I make three lists: a personal to-do, one for work and one before I go to bed at night with any worries on my mind. I buy books of lists to keep my household on track. I avoid shopping without one. I’ve been known to make a list of pros and cons when faced with a tough decision. Lists give me a sense of control in a life of uncertainties and demands.
I love lists and hope to always be a list maker. But I want to use them for my good. My established list habit can be a tool to restore myself and strengthen my trust in God.
What would my life look like if I put “rest and refill my positive attitude” on the list as an item? I can build in more breaks between writing code, shopping for school supplies and caring for others. Well rested, I will have more patience and good humor.
How about if I added “spend time in friendship with God”?
I will take the time to relax over a cup of tea and ask God to help me recognize when my need to accomplish is coming from pride or fear. Yes, the laundry needs to be done, but I can stop for a moment and give myself a chance to hear God.
Even if all my items don’t get crossed off, I’ll see clearly the blessing that is my day-to-day life.
Lord, our minds grow anxious
from undone things and outside demands:
jobs, family needs, losses, requirements, changes.
Place your holy hand of peace on our shoulders.
Remind us we can trust you.
Your kingdom is our destination.
The needs of the world are passing away;
we can rest in your mercy
and take comfort in your loving embrace.
What do you feel that you have to take care of by yourself? How would it help to stop and rest with God? Where do you find you push yourself the hardest?