[box] Every Saturday morning, I will be sharing a little snippet from my own personal walk with God...straight from the heart. God has work to do in me too, and sometimes it's not pretty. But my prayer is that as I am honest, He is more able to do that work in me...and at the same time, encourage you as well. [/box] "And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near."--Hebrews 10:24, 25
Do you remember taking finals? All the studying (or cramming, in my case), the late nights, eating whatever you can scrounge up, looking at your notes until the very last possible moment? And then after it's all said and done...relief. You are now free to forget everything and move on with life.
When I would wake up the morning (or afternoon, if I took a nap!) after finals were over, there would be this strange feeling of...emptiness. I had put all my efforts, time and energies into preparing for this exam and now that it was all over, I didn't feel like I had anything to do anymore. (Ah, the life!)
After this temporary feeling of loss came a surge of happiness. Now I had time to hang out with my friends (whoever was still around), stay up late because I wanted to, not because I had to, and go out to eat for fun. It didn't take long for that empty feeling to go away.
That's how it felt this week. For the past 3 months, I have been working on a moms' Sunday school class, teaching (almost) weekly. Hours of reading, thinking, praying, outlining, researching, studying, writing and practicing my messages filled every free moment I had. There are perks: with the added pressure, I find myself using my time more wisely and my spiritual life usually jumps up a few notches.
As a grand finale to the semester, I also volunteered to share a workshop (the topic of next month's blog series!) at our church's parenting conference on how to disciple our children throughout the routines of life. So last week, in addition to my regular class, I also had to prepare a 1 hour 15 minute long workshop.
The late nights, the scrambling to find and gather my resources to share, the writing and re-writing (even up till the morning of !)---it all reminded me of taking finals again. So when Sunday afternoon finally came, I was so ready to stop. In fact, it took me about two nights of going to bed early plus naps to start feeling normal again.
But now, I am beginning to feel the twinges of emptiness creeping in. What will I do now? My first inclination is to just do nothing. I am a big proponent of getting rest, so I gave myself permission to do just that this week.
And yet, I still have to remind myself that while God mandates a Sabbath rest for us, that rest is only 1/7 of the week. The other 6/7 of the week (86% if you're wondering like I did!) is made for work. More often than not, we are to be gainfully employed in God's work for us. I know that if I rest too long, it gets harder to get back up again. (Newton's First Law of Motion, right?) I definitely need more force to get me up and going if I sit too long!
As I enter into this period of rest, I am praying that God will help me to use my time wisely so that I am able to rest, but also not hibernate. I think one of the greatest challenges is to not crawl into a hole and hide. I am introverted by nature, so if I get into a bad habit of hiding away from people, then I am also setting myself up for a downhill slide. Been there. Done that. And don't want to do it again.
I think that is exactly why the writer of Hebrews exhorts us not to give up meeting with one another. Interacting with and investing with people just because, and not with any other purpose than getting to know one another, is hard work. I think part of the reason why I am do much better spiritually when I am teaching or doing a small group is because I have regular contact with people. Unless I make the effort to invest time in people, I am actually putting myself in a dangerous position.
Lord, thank You for this reminder today. I confess that I am lazy when it comes to relationships. Please help me to remember that in your economy, it is people that matter, not just big projects and programs. Grow in me the heart of Christ, that always had room to welcome and love others. I pray for Your protection from the evil one who may tempt me to slack off in this area. Thank You for Your love that pursues me. May that love help me to reach out to others as well. In Jesus' name, Amen.