On a couple of occasions I've toyed with recommending shutting down the church calendar for a year....a sabbatical with nothing but Sunday morning assembly....in order to release enormous tension. So far it's only an idea because if I find anyone the slightest bit interested there's seemingly no way to pull it off because our people are addicted to activity. There is feared panic if there wouldn't be something to do. In the meantime families are splitting and hard-working saints live in a land of perpetual frustration because they simply cannot keep up the pace filled with weariness or guilt.
How might we find alleviation?
- Learn to say "No." While the church is learning to set creativity free, we must be strong enough to applaud with clear conscience while we restrain ourselves from leaping into every good work someone imagines.
- Trim your calendar. Ponder meetings that have become habit, but not productive. Kill them. Look at appointments which are useful and see if it would be possible to take a month's sabbatical. Would the place fall apart? Would we survive for just one month without it? Most likely so. Then give yourself a break.
- End the feelings of guilt. Gone are the days of getting a day off. There are too many ways for communicationals to find you. The only real way to get a break seems to be to leave town. Even that can be short-lived. Refuse to take on the monkeys so many are happy to hand you. Hand them back...quickly.
- Curb the ego. In one aspect we create the full plate syndrome because we are targeted due to ego. Others like to stroke us as to how effective we are and that's why they've called on us rather than another "lesser" type. This is a trap. We are not God. God is God.
The thing that helped me most was to read years ago of Jesus walking away from the crowds and getting into a boat because he didn't want to deal with them any longer. He'd given enough of himself for the day. Although they raced to meet him when he approached shore, still he was leaving the crowd because he'd had enough. I believe effective and long-term servanthood insists there be a wise and controlled pace. We must be disciplined to refuse all that comes our way demanding our faithful attention. Otherwise we will discover many of our prominent leaders choked on plates too full.