WordPress provides detailed statistics on this blog’s activity. This site has had over 34,000 views. Amidst all this traffic there is one blog topic that stands amongst them all in total views: Exhaustion.
I have written on the subject twice. You can see the first here and then a revised version from a couple years later here.
I find this statistic fascinating. And revealing.
I suspect we are a tired bunch of people.
A Shepherd’s Gathering
I just returned from the annual Pastoral Training in Member Care Conference (next year will be the 30th anniversary – don’t miss it!). One of the observations I made at this conference is how tired all of us care-giving shepherds are.
What’s up with that?
Do we not sabbath or sabbatical?
Do we simply say yes to too much?
Are we trying to accomplish more than our capacities allow for?
Are we need-driven rather than Father-responsive?
On the one hand, there is no way to sacrificially serve others without tiring. God does ask us to lay our lives down for others. Pouring out of ourselves is our calling. Fatigue is a realistic expectation.
Yet many of us cross over from a “good-tired” into a consistent weariness that can spike to a deep weariness that we do not easily recover from. Our efforts to renew on any given day or week simply are not adequate. More is consistently going out than is coming in. Our “fuel tanks” are red-lining way too often.
Time for an Evaluation
Over the remainder of this year, I am taking some time to ponder my own tiredness. Here are but a few questions I am asking:
Why do I say yes to what I say yes to?
Is what I say yes to the absolute essential work I must be doing? Has the Father specifically told me to do it, or am I simply reasoning I “need” to do it?
Am I living by the cultural mantra that “we can do it all?”
Am I serving primarily from a place of tiredness or restedness? What would it take to shift into the latter? Is this a desirable and/or realistic goal?
Am I responding to internal fears and external demands more than Father, Son, Holy Spirit invitations? What would a deepening of response to God look like?
What would allow me to engage others from a welling up of inner spiritual vibrancy on a consistent basis?
These are but a sample. Create some of your own.
May I encourage you to hold these prayers before God over the coming months?
Here are two titles that may be of some stimulation. As best I can tell, these two authors are not Christ-followers. At least these books are not written from a typical Evangelical bent. Thus, they provide a different perspective on the topics. Some of the findings in Rest is research-based. These books have me thinking and praying from different angles.
Do you have a resource to suggest?
Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less
By Alex Soojung-Kim Pang
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
By Greg McKeown
Challenging thoughts, as usual. The key take-away for Irene and me after PTM was that God was confirming our suspicion that we need a sabbatical of sorts. We will not be hosting or debriefing during 2019 so we can give prolonged time to the very questions you’ve raised. I find myself invigorated even now by the prospect.
Thanks Dave for the reply. May the Lord provide the space for reflection and a community to companion you in this upcoming year. I will look forward to hearing how it progresses. Peace SS
Thanks, Scott. Do you think that our technological ability to be connected at all times lends to information overload, and this to our exhaustion?
Most likely contributes. Way over stimulated….
Thanks, Scott. I wonder if our ability to stay connected and to know what is going on around the world all the time lends to this sense of exhaustion, too.
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