For surfers, summer months can be the ultimate frustration, especially on Florida’s panhandle, where the Gulf of Mexico turns into a lake. No waves. No surf. Summer doldrums. The only time we get a wave is when a hurricane passes through somewhere in the Caribbean and pushes a “ground swell” north to us. Or, worse, a hurricane comes our way. Surfers love hurricane waves, but everyone else hates the dire consequences.
“What do I need to do to stay spiritually healthy?”
After a very busy first five months of 2018, I have looked forward to summer doldrums. I have needed a break. Since January I have been in six countries and on three long distance road trips that lasted from five days to over two weeks each. Plus, Globe hosted a week-long Candidate School in February, and then our local annual Missions Conference Week and Globe:180 Retreat in late April and early May. That entire experience lasts two weeks and requires months of preparation!
Fatigue can creep up on us, and if you are like me – a workaholic at heart – fatigue is almost considered a badge of honor. That, I continually must relearn, is a dysfunction. In this book, “Soul Keeping: Caring for the Most Important Part of You” Pastor John Ortberg, another workaholic leader with a propensity to chase fatigue, quotes his mentor Dallas Willard.
John called Dallas one day to ask him a question… “What do I need to do to stay spiritually healthy?”
Dallas’ response: “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.”
When we met in the spring, I asked the Globe Board to REQUIRE ME to slow down. Without a mandate from authority, I said, I would just keep filling my schedule with important stuff to do. The board responded and promptly gave me three extra weeks of vacation, to be used at my discretion, but with one caveat: “YOU MUST USE THIS TIME OFF BEFORE THE NEXT BOARD MEETING.”
It’s hard to make a case for “ruthlessly eliminating hurry from your life” when the world is going to hell. The Great Commission mandate, and the reality of billions without Jesus Christ, weighs heavily on every Christian leader. The ONLY GOOD EXAMPLE we have of someone living in perfect balance – between Great Commission urgency and soul keeping necessity – is Jesus Himself. His example should be enough for us to follow. Sadly, it’s a difficult lesson to learn.
It’s hard to make a case for “ruthlessly eliminating hurry from your life” when the world is going to hell.
Simply put, Jesus ministered to the multitudes, and then He retreated with his friends. That was the rhythm of His life for three years. We must do it for a lifetime of service: twenty or thirty years and more. Some of Globe’s missionaries have been on the field for fifty years. 2018 is Beth and my fortieth anniversary in full time ministry. You don’t survive that long in Christian service without learning something about life rhythms.
Unfortunately for me, I have to keep relearning the lesson.
To all you workaholics out there, I recommend John Ortberg’s book. It will do you good. It will definitely give you longevity in ministry, and might even increase your impact. Get a copy here.