My senior year of college was crazy! I was preaching full time, directing theatre and teaching for a small christian school, traveling with the college’s drama ministry, and serving as chapel coordinator. Oh, yeah, I was also married and we were expecting our first child! Life was good, but I felt like I was always rushing to get to the next thing. I put on a lot of weight, and felt my health starting to deteriorate. I was a wreck.
The thing is, there wasn’t a single one of these things I didn’t love (well aside from the health and weight thing). They were all good things. I’d chosen the mess I was in. But something had to drop. I came to the realization that I was trying to accomplish all of my life goals at one time.
Sometimes, in ministry I think we do this. We go to a conference and absorb all sorts of great ideas, then we try to implement them all at once. Or maybe it’s a slow-burn buildup: agreeing to do this thing here, take that suggestion there, become involved in that ministry we’ve seen from a distance… And while we have great intentions for all of these things, and they’re all admirable, we can’t possibly hope to do them all well and still stay healthy. Something has to give. When we become over committed we can often find ourselves struggling physically, emotionally, or spiritually.
With that in mind, I want to encourage you (and remind myself) to evaluate what is on your plate. How many ongoing activities are you involved in? When was the last time you had two consecutive day’s off? ONE day off? How much time are you spending with your family? How much time do the activities you’re involved in allow for you to spend alone with God?
Now, are you comfortable with your answers?
If not, it may be time to cut some of the cruft out, or to delegate responsibility for a few things to someone else. One of my biggest struggles as a minister has been putting a ministry I’ve nurtured into someone else’s hands, but it’s important to realize that we don’t need to carry every program, Bible study, or ministry on our own.
Make sure you’re taking days off; taking your vacation. Jesus said that “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.” While we aren’t required by the New Covenant to take a day of rest, clearly God thought it was beneficial for man to do so.
Of course, all of this can apply to anyone, you don’t have to be a minister to be overcommitted, but: “Write what you know.”