"Lifers" know a secret: It is impossible to sustain a lifestyle of service without keeping an eye on your self-care and maintaining spiritual fullness. Picture a set of scales, with "healthy life of service" as the fulcrum. On one side is your own self-care, and on the other is spiritual fullness.
Self-Care Healthy self-care is the middle ground between selfishness and selflessness. When Christ says to deny yourself, he does not mean for you to DESTROY yourself. Many volunteers get inspired to serve, find a serving opportunity they enjoy and then proceed to run themselves into the ground. Appropriately caring for yourself means tending to your basic, functional needs, such as diet, exercise, sleep, relationships and recreation, to keep your "ministry" from becoming a steamroller in your life that pulverizes everything in its path.
Read Galatians 6:9. Why do you think the apostle Paul (who penned those words) needed to remind people that the harvest WOULD come? God knows that even his strongest, most faithful followers can get tired. Consider Elijah, a heroic Old Testament prophet who at one point in his life was so burned out he resorted to telling God to take his life...just get the whole thing over with! Read I Kings 19:5-8, paying attention to God's response to Elijah.
Can you relate to Elijah? Take a few moments now and reflect on times when you have been exhausted and deflated and uninspired. How would you portray in an image who God has been to you in those moments? Perhaps he has been a warm blanket to comfort and protect you from the cold, stark circumstances you faced. Or possibly a window, giving you a fresh perspective on life. Maybe he has been a tree, providing strength and life and shade for you to rest under. Or was he a flashlight, cutting a ray of light through the pitch black night, assuring you that you were headed in the right direction?
If you begin to feel tired and burned out like Elijah, use the above image to remember God's faithfulness and take an inventory of your self-care categories:
* Bring your concerns to Christ. * Be sure you're taking care of your basic needs. * Be realistic about your schedule and capacity. * What do I need to remove from my schedule so I can better serve Him?
The God who created you wants you to be healthy so you can continue to do good over the long haul.
Tomorrow we will look at Spiritual Fullness. Have a great day!
Leon Burdette Adult Education/Ministry/Assimilation Pastor 770-428-2100, ext. 1120 firstname.lastname@example.org
"Becoming the Church Next Door" - Real Relationships - Selfless Service - Connecting People to Christ