Do you know how to relax? I don’t!
I feel like, for as long as I can remember, there’s been this little voice in the back of my mind, or maybe it’s actually invaded my heart too, telling me, “If you’re not busy and maxed out, there’s something wrong.” It can be spiritual, “You’re not doing enough for God.” It can be social, “If you don’t have big plans on Friday night or over the weekend, you’re a loser.” It can be professional, “Everyone else is stressed and maxed out, why aren’t you? Are you earning your pay?” It can even be financial, “ You need to keep up with the Joneses!"
Whew! That was stressful, but maybe it was also a little bit relieving to know you’re not the only one with crazy thoughts running through your mind.
Do you feel like your world is too busy, but you don’t know how to make it stop? It’s like you’re on a carousel and everything is starting to get to you. The annoyingly redundant music, the animals incessantly rising and falling, the round and round is starting to turn your stomach, but you’re having a hard time getting off because the entire scene seems fun but feels torturous. But you ask yourself, "Everyone else seems fine driving themselves crazy being busy. Why shouldn’t I?"
Today I’m going to be really honest and authentic with you. I have a hard time getting rid of that run the race voice in the back of my head. I have a hard time relaxing, making myself slow down for that thing God calls a Sabbath. The main reason I don’t know how to slow down, how to stop, is because I find satisfaction and identity in accomplishment. I feel good about myself when I can SEE something I’ve accomplished, and I feel even better when I can say to God, “Look at what I’ve done Lord! Are you proud of me?"
But, here comes the real vulnerability. Our family has been through a couple of hard years. We’ve moved our family, ministry (including all of the families and interns) and friendships. While our eyes of faith seemed eager to soak in what God had in store, my stressed out stomach had a belly-full. My thankfulness has been a daily choice, not flowing naturally from within, which left me feeling condemned in my struggle.
But, I kept pushing forward. Living and giving out to others as I felt was expected of me. And then, June of 2015, I heard God speak to me very clearly.
He said, “STOP! Stop ministering through your blog and social media. Shift your attention solely to me for your own health, for your own good."
Did you hear me say earlier that I find my identity in doing? Simply put, I’m task oriented, so this was one of the biggest challenges Jesus has ever asked of me. I thought it was a test (and maybe he was testing my obedience), but as I write this almost a year later, I see He was protecting me from myself. I have a tendency to give until I burn out and don’t have anything left. I was not thinking about the 6 weeks of summer camp we had coming up. I was not thinking of the 4600+/- teenagers we would be hanging out with all summer. I was not thinking about having to speak every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning on the hardest subject I’ve ever had to live out.
As I sit here typing this to you dear friend, I realize that I almost resented God for not feeling like I could handle everything; for not believing I could do it all. Sounds kinda silly right? But, have you ever overestimated how much you could handle? Did the Holy Spirit warn you? Did you listen? I don’t listen as much as I should, but boy am I glad He was able to break through to me before last summer.
We all need to pause sometimes. We all need breaks and time alone so that we can truly serve one another out of love and not from obligation.
If you’re in that place in your life, I want to pray a prayer from Psalm 2 over you:
"Lord, be a shield around my brother or sister.
Be the glory and lifter of their head!
Answer my friend’s prayers from your holy mountain,
Help them sleep and when they wake up,
Will you sustain my brother or sister?
Help them not to fear,
And strike any enemy that comes against my friend!
In Your Sweet and Powerful Name, Amen."
About the Author:
Sharie serves the ministry as a speaker, traveling to universities, churches, camps and ladies events across the country. She is also an active writer and blogger.
Sharie was born and raised in Atlanta, GA where she gave her heart to Jesus when she was just 11 years old. At 12, she surrendered her life to ministry.
As a wife and ministry partner to Clayton, Sharie helped build the organization, working in multiple capacities since 1997.
She has written four books, co-authoring two with Clayton: 12 Questions to Ask Before You Marry, andThe Beauty and the Mystery. She and Clayton also partnered with Lifeway to develop a curriculum for students based on their book True Love Project, recognized by Christian Retailers as the Best Non-Fiction in 2015. True Love Project (40 Days of Purity for Girls) also complements this piece.
Sharie also serves their children, Jacob and Joseph, as a full-time teacher, homeschooling the boys. She loves to paint, read and thrives outdoors!