Faith Reflections

Surviving Summer and Other Things

What an amazing summer.  I really wish I had blogged more throughout it.  I did but not on this blog.  If you want to read about the summer, you can read our church’s missions blog where I posted while on my travels.  It was so awesome.  I loved the people I met and the new places I was able to see.  We have some amazing ministry partners around the world. But being home about two weeks out of eight was a little draining for this introvert.  I was able to take a couple of weeks of downtime recently and just this week returned to work.
I used to teach high school history before entering the ministry and there isn’t a lot that I miss from those years.  Don’t get me wrong – I enjoyed teaching.  But I love a lot of the things about my work now.  The only thing that I really miss is the mental break that comes from ending a school year and then beginning a brand new one.  You could clean out files and student assignments and come August begin the year anew.
In ministry, I find that your game must always be on.  While you are in the current season of life, you must also be planning for the next and the next.  Just once, it would be nice to sit back and go – DONE!  So as summer has ended and I’m trying to recover, I’m already way behind on things for the 2009-2010 year.
I’m sure there are other occupations and jobs like this.  When I look around at other individuals and families, I know that most of us always seem to be two or twenty steps behind where we feel we need to be.
The trick is to learn to savor the present and to focus on the right priorities.  I’ve struggled with this throughout life – somewhat of a workaholic as long as there is meaning and purpose in that work. This inability to savor and prioritize was the major cause of my burnout and depression three years ago. Depression that I continue to flirt with because I overwhelmed myself so severely and I still struggle with the lessons I learned.
Last week on vacation, I thought a lot about boundaries and limits.  How do I do the job/ministry I’m called to do and love to do and still establish boundaries and self-care?  How do I slow myself down to prioritize instead of wanting to do everything and do it now?  How do I smell the roses when I’m hard-wired to notice that there are other rose bushes that need to be planted so that more can enjoy them?
I’m on the journey of trying to figure this out and makes some changes with God’s guidance.
A few weeks ago, Bill Hybels said this at The Leadership Summit at WillowCreek:

The pace at which I’m doing the work of God is destroying God’s work in me.” – Bill Hybels

What a true statement and what a horrible crime.
How do you protect God’s work in you?  How do you establish and protect priorities?  How do you walk away from things unfinished?  I’d love to hear your journey.

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