Wow. It’s been months since I last posted. Life has been a little (well, a lot!) crazy. (That’s really bad grammar right there!) I won’t be boring and post a super-long explanation of all that’s going on, so here is a summary.
Right now I’m in Devon, staying with my lovely mum for some much-needed TLC. Why ‘much-needed’? Well…it turns out, and this is a real shocker, I am not super-human. Bummer, huh?!
That’s a shorter summary than I intended. And, also a little more flippant, cos what’s really going on in my life is a bit more heavy-going.
I kind of had a little meltdown, and got completely exhausted and overwhelmed with just about everything; to the extent where I had to be signed off work for two weeks (which has been extended for another two weeks, so a total of a month off).
I got to the stage where I couldn’t even feel happy when I woke up in the morning, because I knew the day that was ahead of me would just be jam-packed full of stuff, that I just couldn’t deal with. I think the’technical term is “burn-out”, which lots of people – mostly ex-Impactors – warned me against; but me, being me, thought I was totally above all that and I had it sorted.
An older lady at my church in Plymouth, when I explained why I was home, looked at me and said “there is a reason why God made a Sabbath, Sarah.”
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the stuff that I do [by the way; stuff isn’t the best word, because I truly care about every student I meet with or disciple, and I love all my tasks and responsibilities…but I’m not gonna write a huge list of what I do].
But loving the stuff is the problem. On our first day of Impact training, Rachel Wilson gave us seven top-tips…one of which was “JESUS is the bread of life, not church.” It is so easy to completely pour myself into all the stuff, and run around like a crazy person, and then fall into bed at whatever-o’clock, feeling absolutely exhausted and having spent no time with God in that entire day (except for maybe a rushed “please God, give me energy right NOW!” prayer) and tell myself that it’s ok, because God created me and made me a servant-hearted person, only to wake up a few hours later and do the whole thing again.
I mean, I like busy-ness, but it all got way too much, and I didn’t let on to anyone that I was having a hard time. I couldn’t. I’m my own worst enemy in that respect, because I hate to ask for help (and here’s the biggest confession: I often can’t even bring myself to ask for help from God, which is just wrong)
There is probably some big psychological explanation for why I find it so hard…but I think it’s pretty simple really:
I have always been the “go-to” person: the one that my friends went to for advice, and help…because they knew that I was reliable, and loved them and would make myself available to them. (None of these things are bad things, by the way. They’re actually biblical, but don’t ask me for a reference) And really, I like being the “go-to” person. I like knowing that people will come to me for help, trusting that I will try to help them. I love that God has made me into that person.
Here’s a question though: who does the “go-to” person get to go to?
The answer is “God”, always…but also, other people (like friends and a discipler). There is comfort to be had in relationships with other people; as some person said somewhere, “a problem shared is a problem halved” – it’s an over-used phrase but it’s true.
Even though I know that, I struggle so much to actually put it into practice. It’s very hypocritical really, because I disciple five amazing young women – they are beautiful and fun and striving to be Godly, and I’m there telling them that they can call me anytime to chat and pray, because God gave us these relationships for our own good – but then in my own relationships I refuse to make myself vulnerable because I’m scared that people will think I’m weak.
How can I expect my girls to be vulnerable, and honest, and accountable to me, and to lean on God, when I am leaning completely on my own strength rather than his.
There is a happy point to all this, I promise! Being signed off was a big wake up call, and showed me that I need to start making changes and breaking down the walls that I’ve put up around myself – because ultimately they are hurting me and they are hurting God; because me burning myself out by doing everything in my own strength is really not glorifying to him at all. We need rest, and sleep, and time that is just for God and us.
Somewhere along the way I forgot how good my God is; that he is a King who brings rest and sustains all things (including me) but I’m remembering now.
For a great resource to remind you of who God is, look here: http://www.thecitychurch.org.uk/autoplayLQ.php?video=480