Mark 6:31 (KJV)
31 And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.
Boy, did I need to read that on Friday night when I didn’t leave my desk until 7:30, and then when I did, I took a stack of work upstairs with me. I don’t know that I know what burning out feels like…. but I bet this is it.
God doesn’t call us to be workaholics. In fact, quite the opposite. During Chapel this morning, this week’s Camp Pastor preached on the need to take rest. He referenced the Commandment to “Remember the Sabbath and keep it Holy.” He mentioned that it’s not like most of the other Commandments. It’s not something where it’s said: “take some rest.” God is quite specific. God says through Moses:
“8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” Exodus 5:8-11
My title there is a play on words from the verse he used in his sermon, and it only works if taken from the KJV or other similar translations. I checked. Because I don’t tend to prefer the KJV… but Jesus tells his disciples to “come apart” with Him… or get away from everything else with Him. They were surrounded by people who’d not even stopped long enough to eat. I know how that feels. I do it all the time. Somewhere along the line I convinced myself that I need to be busy to be effective. I need to be busy to be successful. I need to be busy so that my mind is not on the things that scare me, the things that make my trust waiver. If I’m too busy to think about them, I’m too busy to stress about them… right?
Between this powerful message this morning and Ann Voskamp’s book, I’m coming to realize that the way to succeed in my life is through joy and time with God, which ultimately leads to more joy.
Stress is simple. It’s not trusting God to do what He said He’d do. Take care of me. Provide for me. Protect me. And I’m not to have a spirit of fear. Fear is the absence of faith. Being afraid of what will happen if my union strikes in September when I just bought a house… that doesn’t show that I trust God to take care of that.
The solution is simple. Give it all up. Over… and over… and over again. I know, easy said… right? Right. But it can’t become easy to do unless I start somewhere. Start small. Start by naming the things where God HAS provided. Start by recognizing the blessings in my life as places where God has proven Himself trustworthy.
I’ve digressed a bit. I have two themes and they probably won’t twist very well together.
Come Apart or come apart. Take a break and spend time with God; Rest. Or fall to pieces. Or watch your life crumble around you. Exhaustion, feeling useless, ineffectiveness… none of those things are God’s design for us, no matter where He’s put us. I’m so guilty of this. In fact, I’m guiltier of it during the Summer than I am at home, which is what has prompted the decision that I won’t be coming up to Camp all summer next year. I can’t run myself this thin. I’m exhausted. I feel useless, and I feel ineffective. But I also haven’t really stopped since I got here either. I haven’t really stopped since…. well, I don’t remember. They say idle hands are the devil’s playground… but maybe super busy ones are too? Where have I made room for the one thing that matters most? What difference does it make if my candy list gets made today or tomorrow, in the grand scheme of my life? I stay up absurdly late because I feel like I’ve had no time to myself at all during the day… which fuels the exhaustion.
My last thought before I count out some more blessings and then collapse onto my pillow. Well I guess it isn’t my thought, it’s the Pastor’s, but it struck me hard. If you’ve seen the movie “Big Miracle,” you’ll get this. If you haven’t, go get your hands on a copy from somewhere. Legally, preferably. It’s fantastic. The Pastor compared church to the part in this movie where a couple of whales needed help getting air so they could escape rapidly freezing waters. Church, The Sabbath, rest with the Lord… that’s what it should be like. A gasp for air. The substance we need to be able to continue. Not just a routine. Not just a habit.
And so I ask myself… am I in a habit of gasping for God? Needing Him so badly that I scramble to be in His presence when I feel like I’ve been out for too long? Or do I just keep holding my breath, hoping I can fix this on my own?
36. Words of encouragement.
37. Super strong hugs, when needed most.
38. Grandparents — how lucky I am to still have mine.
39. Reuniting with family I don’t see often.
40. Brother-sister deep chat bonding time.
41. The beginning of Family Camp.
42. It’s safe to trust. Christ is a bridge that is always safe to cross. And God gave us Christ, so He too can be trusted in ALL things.
43. Come apart or come apart. Mark 6:31.
44. God has not commanded us to be workaholics. Exodus 20:11, Deuteronomy 5:12, Matthew 11:28-30
45. Hilarious pastors with needed messages.
46. New life. Welcoming baby Matthew to the world. The anticipation of meeting him this weekend.