by Rebecca Burtram
In the past month or so, the church planting life has been exciting and rewarding. I have seen God at work and some of my own sweat paying off. As I was reveling in this, I was thinking through the various seasons in church planting. Some seasons aren't exactly as energizing or fruitful as we would like.
With that in mind, I decided it would be good to share what I wrote on my own blog this past winter in order to encourage others to remain faithful because there will be a season of fruitfulness.
“I once was lost, but now I’m found”-Amazing Grace
Recently, I have been lost.
I have been clinging to my faith and trying to find my sanity. I have been burnt out and weary. Judge if you like, but for every one person looking down on this feeling, there are three to five thinking, “me too,” or, “I’ve been there.”
I am doing things I love, but I am doing too many of them. I have become trapped and lost in the world of obligations, and the joy has become stress. Of course, I have joyful moments, but the default setting lately has been empty, tired, and sad.
Logically, I know why. I am overextended, a female with hormones, and it is winter (give me some vitamin D please). Because I have been able to identify the factors, I have felt it is okay to let it slide for a little longer.
Here is when I realized I let this go too far:
- At Christmas, my sister-in-law said, “I feel like I always have to fail somewhere,” and I wanted to curl up on the floor and cry because someone else finally said the exact thing that weighs so heavily on me every day.
- Staying in bed with a movie was starting to sound better than being with people…. always…. but I couldn’t because every break means something else falls through the cracks.
- I read my “About the Author” section while checking the interior proof for my upcoming book, Our Broken Hallelujahs, and I realized I wasn’t the same person who wrote that section over six months ago. It says, “Rebecca is a lover of God, a wife, a mother to three, an avid runner, a chai tea drinker, and a recovering perfectionist. She has found great joy in owning her flaws and learning to rely on God and his great grace.”
I know this might not make sense to a lot of people, but the part that really got me was “avid runner.” Something I have identified as a part of who I am since elementary school was no longer true about me.
I know we are more than what we do, but runners reading this will understand that there is something about it that is part of who we are. It is our balancing mechanism. It is our restorer of sanity. It is our daily challenge and victory. It is one foot in front of the other for another day.
Yes, I am a little crazy. I have no problem admitting it. The part about “finding great joy in owning her flaws and learning to rely on God and his great grace” is still true.
You haven’t heard from me here since mid-December. I haven’t run since Thanksgiving. I let my desire to do everything right take over, and I have continually let something I love, something that is important for my emotional and physical health, sit on the back burner in order to get everything done.
A Thursday night conversation with some friends encouraged me to embrace the “Holy C.” They were saying it is okay to give only what you are capable of giving at the moment. If all you have to give is a C, it is Holy.
With that in mind, I did my Friday (and started today) differently. I played basketball with my son as soon as I got out of the car after work. I didn’t even bring my laptop into the house. I let my daughters watch way too much TV while I took a nap next to them. The house was not cleaned or even touched up. My husband got the kiddos hot and ready pizza on his way home, and we went out to dinner on a gift card from friends.
This morning. I woke up and chose to let the tasks of the day wait. I went for a very slow 3-mile run, and I wrote this post. I will do my daily devotions after I hit “publish.” Then I will set aside two hours for cleaning and bills. I will stop when the time runs out whether the laundry is folded or not. I will spend this day with my family, and I will hang out with friends tonight.
I am finding my soles and my soul.
God didn’t call me to minister to others and lose myself in the process. He has called me to find myself in Him. He is the priority, and he has commanded (yes, literally commanded) me to rest and to find my peace in him. I don’t need to do more. I need to follow him and remember that he can do miraculous things. Even if my efforts result in a human C, he can make it holy.
If you need permission to start doing that thing you loved again in order to care for your soul, for what it is worth, you have mine.
Jonathan and Rebecca Burtram planted Redemption Church Charlottesville on Easter of 2016. Rebecca is the author of Our Broken Hallelujahs and blogs about grace and imperfection at rebeccaburtram.com. She is passionate about helping others know that they are not alone in their struggles or their triumphs. If you have a church planting story to share with other CMN women, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.