Monday, February 24, 2014

In the Long Run, You Run Longer

When driving it's not abnormal to see vehicles that have been in a wreck of some sort. Damages can vary, but it's pretty common. Right? Well, for the past week I have seen an unbelievable amount of cars on the road that are not just wrecked, but front or rear bumpers being held on by a rope or even duct tape, trunks not being able to be closed all the way, bumpers resting on the exhaust pipe, etc. I would not have thought much of this unless it was in all parts of the greater Nashville area. I seriously couldn't drive 2 miles without seeing a vehicle that was wrecked pretty badly.

I've come to learn that any time I see or hear something several times over a short period of time to ask God if He's wanting to say something to me. Obviously, if I see 435 vehicles with reindeer antlers on them during December, I may not inquire what the Lord is trying to say (although, secretly I may be asking the Lord why people do that). He's always talking to us...we may not always be paying attention. So, I was on the way to hang out with sweet Natalie at The Nest Church. I saw another beyond wrecked car. I made a mental note that I needed to talk to Jesus about this when I had a couple more minutes.

That night after church as I was processing the day I remembered the car. I simply asked the Lord what was He wanting to talk to me about. I'm so thankful that He's always willing and ready to have conversation with me. Here's some of what I felt He was telling me... the vehicles represented ministries. Those ministries have had some sort of collision, altercation, attack and yet they keep going instead of stopping to get repaired. And when those ministries continue as they are, they are actually doing additional harm and the potential for an all out crash that can ultimately harm them and others. He continued to reveal some more things to me about this. I'm so glad that I took time to ask Him about it.

Every Christian has a ministry...even if you don't work for a church or non-profit. Your life is a ministry. Dictionary.com defines Ministry as this:
You are a minister of religion...I know, I know...such a taboo word...so, please accept my revision: You are a minister of faith. What's that? You don't have a show on the Christian Broadcasting network? You don't fill up coliseums? You don't speak from a pulpit? You aren't even a deacon? None of that disqualifies you as a minister. Dictionary.com defines a minister as "a person acting as the agent or instrument of another." If you are a Christian you are acting as an agent or instrument of Jesus Christ. You are a minister and your life is a ministry. You may not want to call it that, but whatever you call it...you have a ministry. 



If you are like me....you feel like you're driving 120mph at times and even sometimes in circles. We are bound to get dings and dents because we are human and live in a fallen world. But sometimes we hit a wall or someone hits up from behind. It's more than just a ding. We are totaled. We put a bandage (or duct tape) on a falling bumper. We tie the rear bumper up with rope. We do what we need to to keep going. Instead of stopping and going to the repair shop. We push the limit and see how far we can go. We are busy, people depend on us, need to get things done, etc. You see, the problem with that is that many times when we find a "get-by" solution to a major problem we create more problems. The risk of another wreck multiplies exponentially and has the potential of hurting you and others in the process.

We all go through situations and experiences where we get hit or we hit. It happens. But how we react to them is so important. Stopping and taking time to "get fixed" per say is so important. We need to allow ourselves to deal with what happened...with grace and love. It's okay to stop for yourself. Generally, in the American culture, you don't stop. You keep going. You don't stop to take care of yourself. That's a sign of weakness. I would propose it's actually the opposite. Knowing when you need to stop for yourself is very powerful! In the long run, you run longer.

You are important. You are a world changer. You make a difference to people everywhere you go. Why is it important to know this? You can give them the best you when you learn to take care of you. We've been taught that taking care of ourselves is selfish. And you know what? Some people take it to the extreme and never really give of themselves because they are always about themselves. But that should not stop us from learning to take care of us. 

Stopping for yourself can look as simple as taking a couple hours to yourself to do a hobby that you enjoy. It could look like getting a Spa Day. It could look like going fishing. It could be going to counseling/inner healing. Ding and dent or totaled, it's important to stop for you.

I recently have been walking through a pressing season. And in the process the Lord has been teaching me what it looks like to take care of my self. For me, it looks like taking vitamins (doTERRA), eating better, drinking more water, setting an hour to rest (doing nothing, but allowing Jesus to speak to me) every day, using my essential oils (doTERRA) more regularly, reading more, spending more quality time with people that champion me, cleaning out some of the old. I can't even begin to tell you how much it's made the difference.

Don't let the enemy rob you of your joy. Many of our burn out moments come from us not balancing our "receive and give ratio." Burning out can be preventable in most cases. You don't have to completely shut down to receive/refresh. And you don't have to ignore you when you are giving. I'm in the process of learning how to do this. It's an interesting journey, but I am betting all it's worth it. ;)

Give yourself the grace that you would give others. Take care of you today. Schedule a "maintenance" time for you. Keep a log of it and reminders so that you don't forget about you.