Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Burn out or a change in direction?

by Linda Hall

Last week I had the privilege of attending Oasis: Refreshment for the Journey, our denomination’s annual convention. The keynote speaker was Ruth Haley-Barton of the Transforming Center. (http://www.thetransformingcenter.org)

I went in, frankly, tired. A bunch of close and difficult deadlines last year, feeling overworked in my church duties and a possible change of direction in my writing career, plus other family things had left me with little energy. Going to the convention was just another event on my calendar. When Ruth spoke that first time, it was like she was speaking directly to me. I could barely keep the tears from wetting my cheeks. And because my husband is hard of hearing, we sat down in the second row so he could see her lips when she talked.

Her subject was burnout - the fact that we do do do all the time without taking the time to simply ‘be’ in God’s presence. Sitting quietly in God’s presence is how he speaks to us. Sitting in solitude and silence is how he talks to us. We are so busy with church activities that we forget to worship.

What she said resonated with me on a deep, soul level. I am going to be making some changes. I need a quiet time in the morning - not the kind where I quickly skim through a prescribed passage of scripture and then ream off a list of ‘prayer requests’, but a time when I can sit in silence for awhile and listen to God. I’m also going to take a Sabbath Rest. My body needs one day a week where I completely unplug from everything - and that means shutting off my computer and unplugging the modem.

Here’s the book I’m currently going through chapter by chapter: Sacred Rhythms. I highly recommend it.



Barbara Phinney said...

Linda, a prescription for many a soul, I'm sure. I know what you mean about the morning devotional. You tend to tack it on the list of things to do and skim through it like the other chores. We need to listen all right.
Wise words, indeed.

Tracy Krauss said...

This post resonates with me on so many levels - and I am sure it must for many others out there. It seems we struggle with that same old battle of over committment and negilgence when it comes to our relationship with God. Don't know how many times I've heard it, but the truth is, if we could jut get our priorities straight (meaningful time with God first) then I think we'd all be less haggard by the demands of life. (Easy to say and 'nod'to, but hard to put into action...)

Debby Giusti said...

You're so right! Each day we need to sit with the Lord and allow Him to fill us. Then we can go forth and take what we've been given to reach others. The more we're filled, the more we want to be filled. That contemplative prayer becomes a circle of love, which is life transforming.

PamelaTracy said...

I get it. I'm scheduled to the 'ith. A few years ago, on this blog, I put a one week diary. My problem is I don't know what to cut.