If you are following along:
If you’re ready for part 3, see below.
So it was March 23rd, the day of my Director Meeting, and I was fully expecting to walk in, have a nice chat with my leaders, and be on my way. What actually played out that morning was entirely different. There were three questions to discuss relating to 1)my serving and ministry involvement, 2)my understanding of who God is and what level of spiritual knowledge I’ve gained, and 3)my own spiritual well-being and personal relationship with God at that point.
These questions were assessed using a scale of one to five, with five meaning great and one meaning not-to-great. It was quickly and easily agreed that my serving and ministry involvement was a solid five. As for my knowledge and understanding, I gave it a four. When asked why, I said that I’m not perfect and could always do better.
But when it came to my personal relationship with God at that particular time, I could not put it higher than a three, maybe even somewhere between a two and a three. That alone was a harsh truth, but it got worse before it got better. Because when the three dots connected, across the page came a striking red line that illustrated a very clear disconnect in my spiritual life.
It was painfully (like actually hurting in my heart and tummy) obvious that I was not only neglecting my own self-care, but also the necessity of rest and the good stewardship of the blessings in my life that weren’t a part of my “ministry involvement”. I was letting my tank go empty without ever filling it back up, and it didn’t take very long for that to catch up with me. That whole part where I pursue God was falling aside while I focused on the other two cornerstones of community and compassion. Active faith is three-dimensional, and I was letting the first dimension slide to focus far more on the other two.
So there I sat feeling like I had failed somehow, vulnerable and literally fighting back tears that I refused to let fall until I was safe in my car where nobody could see it. I didn’t want anyone to know how upset I was because then I’d be forced to admit that all of this was true. And I did not want to admit that…I wanted to fight that.
It would have been easier to accept it right then, but I was adamantly opposed and would spend the next several days battling over it. I didn’t like what I was learning about myself, which was that I had become so consumed with things on the outside that I was neglecting things that were closer to home. Worse still, I didn’t want to give anything up, regardless of the fact that I had been approaching a burnout for quite some time and deep down I knew that. So I sat with these things, and just prayed and cried and yelled right through them.
As it so happened, I had to miss the following Saturday at First Step Experience so I had arranged for a friend to cover for me and she did an awesome job! When I arrived on Sunday morning, Greg told me how well she did and that he thought I should train her to do it more in the future so that I could take a break. But even while working through everything going on the previous week, I held unwaveringly to First Step – that was not an activity I intended to let go of. Some of the other stuff, fine, but the thought of not getting to be there and not sharing in the connections and growth and laughter made my heart hurt a little bit. I didn’t want to miss that…I love those people. Nonetheless, Greg encouraged me to train her so she could help more regularly and I could have a break.
Just a few minutes later, the participants were having table discussions about their homework for the previous week. To make a long story short, they were sharing which point of the “compass” (North/Bible, South/Circumstances, East/Others, West/Holy Spirit) they felt God was using to speak into their lives. Having nothing much to do during this time, Greg came over and asked me which point was leading me – and it was clearly East/Others. I told him about my Director Meeting and explained the eye-opening red graph, and how I was a little sad with the idea of taking a break or, worse yet, someone taking my place.
But after reflecting for a bit, I could see exactly how God was working there. He was speaking through people whom I really trusted and admired, all of them suggesting essentially the same thing without even meaning to. Apparently, it was time to re-evaluate things…
Stay tuned for Part 4.
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