Just after Christmas, I pulled out the calendar for 2016 and thought, “huh… January and February look pretty full.”
Seriously. Full doesn’t even begin to describe the last several weeks.
There was a lot of really good stuff in there. Teaching and speaking about things I am passionate about – to people who really engaged the topics. Leading music with the guitar alongside other gifted musicians. Ash Wednesday – always a favorite. Writing and taking a part in a Reader’s Theater to help refocus missionaries on the fullness of the gospel. Writing a blog post for a project with the potential for a significant national audience.
But every single one of those good things was in addition to my normal work load. Plus – as is often the case with ministry – the bonus meetings and funerals that can’t be anticipated, calendar-wise.
I knew that this Sunday was the end of this crazy long stretch, so I was pressing through last week, counting down the last of the program elements for the conference, thinking about a sermon that would be written Saturday, and then it happened.
The text requesting One. More. Thing.
Oh, and we need it done in the next 48 hours.
At 8:14pm Saturday, the One. More. Thing. was complete.
The sermon for 11:15am Sunday was not.
It was on the other side of a wall. A wall that I had to push through in order to get any rest that night, even though it meant pushing the beginning of that night’s rest back by another 3 hours or more.
It was not ok. I was not ok. But I pushed through.
Here’s where I say that this is not an endorsement of exhaustion, of saying YES to too many things. I am saying this:
Pushing oneself up to and then through walls is a very very bad idea. I was physically, emotionally and spiritually not well Sunday morning. I felt like I was on the verge of tears, of throwing up, of going rogue verbally.
I am thankful for the grace of God that was unleashed right before worship – in the form of someone who saw and spoke into my not being wholly myself. In a moment of quiet support, I was able to pull down the mask and admit being on the edge, which allowed me to be held in prayer and walk back away from the edge.
I am thankful for the grace of God that was poured out in abundance through the hymns and the anthem that were interspersed in the service. None of them connected to the theme of the sermon or even remotely fit with the passages on which it was based. Which annoyed me for about 1 stanza of the first hymn, at which point I noticed they were all about rest. Huh. Just enough rest in every segment of the ordo to get this goober through to the next one.
And the next one.
And into a sermon that I could preach with the energy that came from being held in prayer and given over to the only energy and power that matters on a Sunday (not mine, clearly).
Did I get some rest? Yes.
I napped Sunday afternoon. I slept about 25 of the last 36 hours, in fact. The hours I was awake, I ignored email and most online interactions. I spent face time with people I love. I spent some time reading and praying – not in preparation for anything, just being God’s grateful and beloved child.
And I’m looking closely at the next 3 months, making note of where the big events are landing and where I need great big NOs written in around them. Because I really would like to reduce the number of walls I bang into this year…