• Jennifer

You Don't Have To Do It All

In 2015, I moved to Macon, Georgia to work in the adoption field. I absolutely loved Macon and built a great community there. Even still, it took time to really acclimate to my new home- as it typically does in new places!

Visiting churches was the hardest. I hated the “shopping around” feeling it gave me. And in all honesty, I was scared to find a church home.

Growing up, my family was always involved in ministry. I started serving at a young age and I learned a lot about serving and showing people Jesus. I would NOT be the person I am today without those years of serving as a kid. Still, I spent so many years serving in ministry that I eventually burned out.

By the time I got to Macon, I was tired. Deeply tired. Tired in my soul.

I just wanted to hide. My mission was to find a church that didn’t need me, a place where I could blend in. I wanted to worship, hear the Truth, and go home. If someone asked me to serve, I would have bailed immediately. This was a new feeling for me. I’d always loved ministry.

By this time, I was in a rut of serving and was not being filled up to serve. I was empty.

You’re More Than What You Contribute To The World

We belong to a culture that thrives on what we produce. We're expected to excel in our jobs, in ministry, and in our families. All good things. But what happens when we can’t produce anymore?

Are we more than the things we do?

I think we’ve all been through seasons where we just couldn’t give at the same level anymore. Whether from sickness, family problems, mental health issues, loss, fatigue, spiritual emptiness, etc, we’ve all been incapacitated in some way. The list is endless. It’s personal to you, but when you’ve been in that position you know.

The temptation in this place is to feel like you’ve failed God.

Only, God’s love is not dependent on whether we’re needy or thriving.

As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust. Psalm 103:13-14, ESV

He remembers we’re only dust.

God creates us, calls us to Himself, and invites us on an adventure of a lifetime. But you know, He’d do it just fine without us. He doesn’t need us to accomplish his goals.

And still, He chooses to enter a relationship with us and to use us for His Kingdom purposes. It’s a sweet, and totally undeserved, privilege!

And one that we can burn out on without rest.

It’s Okay To Rest

And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. Genesis 2:2, ESV

In Genesis 2, God rested. God is all-powerful. He doesn’t need to rest. So, why did He rest? What is He revealing here? I think God was modeling the rhythm of work and rest.

Rest is a rhythm implemented by God.

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Exodus 20:8-11, ESV

We may not practice Sabbath the same way the Israelites did. But God is intentional and to bypass the command to rest would be silly.

Know Where True Rest Comes From

Sometimes the rest we need is not possible in our current season or it’s just not the right time for a break. Don’t let that discourage you.

God is great at making provisions for His children.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29, ESV

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 2 Corinthians 4:16, ESV

Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:30-31, ESV

God knows your needs and He is faithful to provide for YOU.

You Can’t Hide Forever

It didn’t take me long to find a church home in Macon. I found a place I could hide for a while (in a very healthy way). And I did hide. For about a year and a half, I went to church, was fed, and found community. I did not volunteer to serve at all during that time.

But I didn’t hide forever.

God gave me a place to heal and rest. Once that had taken place, I was ready to serve again.

By that time, I was pumped to serve! I joined the Greeting Team and started hosting monthly supper clubs with my roommate. You can read about our supper club community in my post, Finding Community In A New Season.

The lesson in all this for me was there’s a time to rest and there’s a time to work.

It’s important that we find the balance.

So do that! Take an inventory. How are you doing, really? Spend some time praying through the next steps.

And as you’re comfortable, let me know! I’d love to hear about your journey with rhythms of rest.

Verse For Further Study:

Colossians 3:1-4, ESV: If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Psalm 23:1-2, ESV: The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.

Hebrews 4:9-10, ESV: So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.