Last week I finished the story of what happened when I got too busy. So where am I at, 9 months later?
My feelings have returned to the usual random collection of ups and downs. The lessons I learned stay with me: wisdom to say 'no', willingness to rest, and an awareness of my warning signs of burnout - things like anxiety, discouragement, lack of perspective, loss of motivation, and the inability to relax.
Am I still too busy? At times this year, I have been, with the usual consequences. It's a little disheartening, after all God has taught me, to still battle the same temptations: perfectionism, ambition, people-pleasing, my drive to fix things, my longing to do everything in one lifetime, and the superwoman syndrome.
I've made some helpful changes. I cut down my extra ministry commitments to 1 a term (I've learned some wisdom!) but discovered that 1 ministry commitment easily expands to fill as much time as 5 ministry commitments (my seminars and articles were very thorough! :) ). You see, the issue isn't really my circumstances - it's my heart.
But God has been at work in my heart. I'm less driven. Instead of grabbing every ministry opportunity, I hold my dreams more lightly, trusting God's timing. As you know, I'm planning to take some time off blogging next year to rest and reflect on what God wants from me - not something I would have done a year ago. God is good.
One final comment: please don't conclude from what I've written that busyness is a bad thing. It's good to be busy in God's service (Phil 2:17, 2 Thess 3:8-9). But when we're so busy that we burn out and can no longer serve, or fail to serve those close to us, or can't trust God and rest - then we've got a problem. And that problem is in our heart. That's what this series has been about: the idols of our heart that drive us to over-busyness, and the way that God's grace sets us free.
Let's work hard, pouring ourselves out in God's service; but when we've done all we can, let's rest, trusting God to work in people's lives.
images are from flik and Laurie Pink at flickr