So as I mentioned last week it has been a tough few weeks in my family. I was really feeling it and so I decided to take a day off and escape to the mountains . I was scheduled to leave at 1pm last Sunday. At around 10.30 am on Sunday I got a text inviting me to be involved in a very cool ministry experience that night.
My 52 year old self declined. If I was to tell you I declined without the thoughts crossing my mind – what a bummer, wonder if that opportunity will come again, wonder if I have let anyone down – I would be lying.
However decline I did. I declined because I needed rest more than ministry. I needed to look after myself more than I needed to please the people who requested. I had been snapping at co-workers, sleeping badly and feeling like I could cry at any moment . I knew a place I could go to rest that would release the pressure valve. I had a great pastor suggest to me that I needed to do it, and I knew he was right.
However I knew my 32 year old self- and to be honest even my 42 year old self – would have immediately begun re-arranging things to take this and every ministry gig that came my way.
I am not proud of this fact. I am not proud of it, because it lacks faith.
It means I have to say yes to please people as if they are in the place of God. I have to say yes, because a tough God will see me saying no, and passes me by, the next time his eyes rove across the earth to find those whose hearts are fully committed to him.
It lack faith in a Good Father who loves me and values me no matter what I do. A Father who makes me lie down to rest beside still waters (or mountains) when he sees me struggling.
Sometimes we just need to die to our people pleasing and our personal ambition – have some faith and look after ourselves.
Now as I type this I know there are some of you who will take this and make it justification for not ever stepping out of your comfort zone, and for being self indulgent. I am not talking to you – you probably need to say yes.
I am talking to the people like me, the driven, people pleasers who sometimes lack the faith to rest well. Sometimes too our sense of responsibility means we keep going way beyond where we should.
We should always say yes more than we say no- however we need to know when to say no.
We need to know that rest and recovery are crucial to longevity. I want to still be being fruitful and enjoying life at 80 and it won’t happen unless I look after myself now.
Tough times teach you so much, and reinforce old lessons. So I packed up my mum and the dog and went and stared at mountains, cooked, walked, played scrabble, finished my book , prayed and pondered. It refreshed my soul. Wish my 42 year old self could have done that too – she might have been healthier and more fun !
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