Ministry is a calling. First-responding is a calling. Teaching kids and teens is a calling. Doctoring and nursing is a calling. If it’s not, you won’t last long; and if you do, you’ll end up grumpy and burned out long before you retire. There’s only one way you make it to the end with your joy still in tact – learn the discipline of re-creation.
When you know you’re walking in your calling, your heart has joy connected to the task, and the people you’re helping. But every blessing has a warning track where you can become imbalanced. When you feel called to save souls, or keep the streets safe, or keep hearts beating, it could drive you to work too much – especially if you have the tendency to be a workaholic.
Guilt hits you and fills your thoughts with things like, “How can I be out here having fun when so many people are hurting today?” “How can I be here enjoying this boat or this golf course when so many can’t afford to do the same?” This kind of thinking will work against your forward momentum as a helper to the helpless. And, at the risk of sounding a bit morbid, this thinking paralyzes those who have lost a loved one recently. “How can I be laughing right now when my family member or friend is lying in a casket?” When our son died three days before Thanksgiving, Christmas tree shopping was the last thing I wanted to do. But, when I looked in my rearview mirror and saw my three-year-old angel sitting in the back seat, I realized I had to keep going. She still needed laughter. She still needed tradition. She still needed the love and the joy and the spirituality that Christmas affords. And frankly, I knew I needed it to. I couldn’t let guilt stop me from my re-creation.
You see, that’s what recreation is. It is the re-creation of your energy. Have you ever felt the guilt associated with the thought of taking care of yourself first and making your child or younger sibling temporarily do without? What a selfish jerk! And yet, that is exactly what the airline industry asks you to do on a plane in the event of an emergency. They want you to put the oxygen mask on yourself first, and then your child or elderly. They understand full well that you can only administer oxygen to the extent that you have oxygen.
Recreation and rest are not intended by God for selfishness; they’re for re-creating your energy supply and refocusing your vision and your high calling. Do you feel guilty for putting your drill’s battery back on the charger for a while? No, you understand that there is no completion of the project without a re-creation of energy. You are no different.
Many people cope with the weight of being in the people business by simply killing their emotions. They just stop caring. They are those cops we hate to see coming, or that wake up one day realizing they drink too much. They are the doctors and nurses that constantly snap at people, or lose touch with new ways of helping them. They are the teachers who only do what it takes to get by, that have a classroom full of disengaged “degenerates.” They are the preachers and politicians who are being forced to resign because of burnout or moral failures. And every one of these positions suffer a high rate of divorce.
We can’t do this job without caring. And we can’t bear the weight of caring if we don’t practice re-creation.
God called it taking a Sabbath. He wasn’t joking when He commanded it. It’s a bit paradoxical, but unplug and recharge, regularly. Simplify. Find your soul again. Rest. Recharge. Pray. Reconnect with your Creator. Re-create. Your world needs the best version of you.