If you have ever burned out or been on the verge of burnout, you must read guest blogger Sheila West’s post here. Sit down and read slowly! Take it to heart. I know you will be glad you did.
Our intricate physical, emotional, and spiritual makeup isn’t designed for constant overdrive. But most of us never take the time to put our feet up and call it a day. We find ourselves in a catch-22 situation: If I don’t take time for me, the pressure creates chaos. If I do take time for me the guilt takes a toll.
This kind of guilt attacks on two fronts. First, we feel so guilty about taking personal time that we can’t enjoy it or benefit from it. Second, pressures from others make us feel so guilty that we wish we’d never slowed down. However, using guilt as an excuse not to take care of ourselves is a cop-out.
I can hear some of you protesting already, “Now just wait a minute! You don’t know all the demands on me –caring for my elderly parents, trying to keep up with my teenagers, excessive demands from my boss, family who assumes I should be superwoman and ministry challenges that keep me awake at night. I’m already out of time, and now you want me to do something else.”
But I am not questioning your workload. I’m questioning how long you will be able to maintain it. Today’s woman is way overextended. More than ever, you need to know when enough is too much. You need to believe it it’s all right to take care of yourself.
Several years ago, as I was strolling along the beach, gazing at the waves lapping against the shore, I vividly remember thinking about how much this time of recreation meant to me. After some personal contemplation, I began to see recreation as re-creation.
Re-creation is a time of refreshing of self – a refreshment of strength and spirit. I see it as re-creation because personal time can provide more than just a change of scenery or a period of relaxation. In a deeper sense, it can be a period of rebuilding. It not only relieves stress; it injects strength.
Have you heard the story of the two woodcutters? One of them kept cutting all day long, stopping only long enough to eat lunch. The other stopped cutting every hour for a few minutes’ break.
The first woodcutter, seeing that the second had chopped far more wood than he, exclaimed in disbelief, “I don’t understand why you have double the wood that I do! You took so many breaks, while I took none!”
The second woodcutter answered him, “Yes – but while I rested, I sharpened my ax.”
We all need to take time to sharpen our tools. But personal time doesn’t have to be a vacation get-away. We can take it in bite-sized pieces: a few minutes to sit on park bench, a brief interlude to read a short article, an extra cup of coffee to pause and reflect before staring the day. But these little bites must be part of a steady diet of consistent time set aside for you – for revitalizing your physical strength, renewing your spirit, regrouping your thoughts.
Even a rubber band snaps when stretched too far. Re-creation time will free you from debilitating stress of pressures and demands. It is essential for personal and spiritual growth. It will increase your enthusiasm, energy, and efficiency. Re-creation gives the joy and strength to follow our God-given path through life and ministry. If you want to live beyond chaos instead of as a victim of chaos, re-creation is not an option, it is a must!
Sheila has been involved in women’s ministry for over 25 years, serving as Director of Women’s Ministry for over 20 years in the local church. She is presently on the Leadership Team for Heritage Community Church, Lady Lake, Florida, including coordinating women’s ministry. She is the founder of Real Living Ministries, a speaking, teaching, and leadership development ministry to women. Sheila is also a contributing author to Transformed Lives: Taking Women’s Ministry to the Next Level, Revised and Expanded edition. Sheila has appeared on numerous Christian radio and television broadcasts, including The 700 Club, and 100 Huntley Street. She is the author of Beyond Chaos, published by NavPress and is a LifeWay Ministry Multiplier. She and her husband, John, are the parents of two and proud grandparents of eight.
If you would like to hear Sheila speak on this topic along with many other speakers, join us for our .mom conference in Birmingham, Sept. 23-24.
A Place of Quiet Rest, Nancy Leigh DeMoss
Margins, Richard Swenson