It took me two days into the new school year to realize I no longer had the energy for the job I loved. I left that Friday overwhelmed, exhausted, and frustrated. Teaching is my passion, but I also love to write, mentor and teach writers, and speak. Throw into the mix church responsibilities, family, and health issues, and you get one burned out soon-to-be senior citizen.
But until that Friday, I refused to admit I had too much on my plate. After neck surgery, I’d rested all summer, following the doctor’s orders. But as soon as the cervical collar came off, I jumped full tilt into a busy schedule. My body protested.
In her book, Meet Me at the Well, Virelle Kidder tells of a time she, too, was trying to do too much: “I only half listened to friends who cautioned me about overload, overwork, too much stress and responsibility. That’s another name for pride.”
The decision wasn’t easy, but it was clear. I resigned from teaching.
In the days that followed, I realized I was exhausted in body, mind and spirit.
“Body, mind, and spirit are one complete package,” Virelle writes. “When one part suffers, the whole person suffers.”
Jesus called His weary disciples aside from a busy ministry schedule to “come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mark 6:31). The King James Version words that verse this way: “Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest awhile.” Modern day translation: If you don’t come apart from the maddening rush of life, you’ll just plain come apart! I almost did.
Jesus calls us to serve, but not to wear ourselves out with more than He’s called us to do. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
I have to be careful, though. Too many times streamlining my schedule has been like digging a hole in the sand—the more I scoop out, the more falls right back in. I have to stick with what God wants me to do and say no to everything else.
Friday was my last day teaching school. A good portion of this next week will be spent in time alone with God, watering my dried up spirit. I’ll also give myself permission to rest my weary body. Only when my spirit is revived and my body is rested up, can my mind be renewed.
Jesus invites us: “Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life” (Revelation 22:17).
“I was beyond thirsty,” Virelle concludes. “I was parched. Lifeless, dry as a bone. But not anymore. I found the well.”
How about you? Have you found The Well?
Give me the wisdom, dear Lord, to know what You want me to do—nothing less, nothing more. Amen.
Virelle Kidder will be the featured speaker at the 2011 Punxsutawney Christian Women’s Conference, “Meet Me at the Well,” on Saturday, Oct. 1 at the Punxsutawney First Church of God. For more information, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the conference blog at http://punxsycwc.blogspot.com