Just One Of Those Days…er, Weeks…um, Months?

22 03 2010

It’s just one of those days.

Actually, it’s more like one of those weeks. Or, maybe more accurately, one of those months.

Our staff has spent some  time lately reflecting on our emotion health. Well, as much time as we can spend as we all burn the midnight oil, preparing for Easter and all of our spring and summer programs.

(As an aside, you never realize how much effort goes into a single service until you’re actually a part of a church staff. I can’t imagine why they don’t have reality shows about church workers–the situations we deal with and the shenanigans that go on around here would be ten times more entertaining than the mindless drivel–I mean, reality TV–that’s currently on the air.)

The thing that’s come up over and over with all of us on staff? We’re tired. And burned out. Discouraged. Frustrated. Dealing with ups and downs in our lives, personally and professionally. Feeling guilty about shirking our spiritual duties as Christian leaders. Feeling confused about where God is leading us, how we’re getting there, or when things will finally work out.

For me, it’s all of these feelings combined. Add to that the stress of running a large program and having people constantly on your back about dates, events, activities…phone calls from kids and parents every night while I’m just trying to forget about work for a while, texts at 10:30 pm from students, Facebooks messages to respond to…sometimes life just seems like an endless to-do list.

I knew being a full-time church worker was a big job. I just never realized that I was stepping into a lifestyle that doesn’t allow me to separate my professional life from my personal life.

I remember staring at a poster in my youth leader’s office when I was a high schooler. It had no flashy graphics and no exciting font, yet I can picture it to this very day. The black letters simply said, “If the devil can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy.”

That’s a statement that sure hits close to home nowdays.

At our all-staff meeting today, we sat down in small groups and talked about some of the “walls”–sufferings, crisis, and obstacles we encounter in our lives–and how they’re currently affecting us. It was a bit encouraging to hear about the times of suffering in the lives of my co-workers, as it was clear to see how God worked through their situations. At the same time, it was a bit overwhelming to listen to the personal pain and anguish that my co-workers are going through. I work with these people every day, sharing hours of my week with them–and we all put on a happy face and do our jobs, without stopping to peel back that protective layer that might reveal our true trials and how we feel about them.

We talked through some of the points from Peter Scazerro’s book, “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality”. One point that really resounded with me was that every believer needs to go through these “walls” in order to grow in Christ–but 85% of Christians get stuck at these walls and don’t ever get past them. These walls are a ways in which God frees us from our unhealthy attachment with this world–yet so many Christians stall out and don’t get through that wall.

It’s all in His hands.

Even those gigantic, impenetrable walls.

That reminds me of Spurgeon’s saying, “So surely as the stars were fashioned by His hands and their orbits fixed by Him so surely are our trials allotted to us. He has ordained their season and their place, their intensity and the effect they shall have on us.”

Which then reminds me of a quote by C.S. Lewis that’s always been a fall-back for me: “The terrible thing is that a perfectly good God is…hardly less formidable than a Cosmic Sadist. The more we believe that God hurts only to heal, the less we can believe that there is any use in begging for tenderness. A cruel man might be bribed–might grow tired of his vile sport–might have a temporary fit of mercy, as alcoholics have fits of sobriety.

But suppose that what you are up against is a surgeon whose intentions are wholly good. The kinder and more conscientious he is, the more inexorably he will go on cutting. If he yielded to your entreaties, if he stopped before the operation was complete, all the pain up to that point would have been useless.”

Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Notice the choice of words–“in all things God works“.

Even in those bad days. And weeks. And months.

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