Tuesday, March 15, 2016

the good we are called to do...

In his book, "Gifts of the Dark Wood" Eric Elnes says, "You can (and will) do a lot of good by walking the path that brings you most fully alive in this world, but in order to stay on this path, you must learn to say no to doing a great many ‘good’ things” (117).   

This past Wednesday I was supposed to blog for my Lenten promise to blog weekly.  But I did not.  It was a "good" thing that I said no to.

When I served as a pastor in the British Methodist Church from 2001-2002, a District Chairman (the equivalent of our United Methodist Bishop) told me a story.  He said that he had four children and he knew two of them because of the choices he had made.  He had chosen the church and his work over his children and as a result he did not have a strong relationship with them.  His words haunted me and as our family grew I knew that I did not want to make the same choice.  

I remember walking into my District Superintendent's office (like my boss) and sharing that I wanted to work part-time instead of full-time.  And my D.S. did not seem to understand why I would want to do such a thing.  I wanted to be more present with my children, and thankfully a part-time position for me was found. I treasure those 7 years when I was able to work as a pastor part-time.  

This past week I spent spring break with my family.  We were together 24-7 and we laughed together so much.  There was no morning scramble to be on time to school, no homework, no dashing to activities in the evening.  It was pure sabbath.  

It is important to take sabbath each day, each week, each month, and each year.  It is important to rest, to step away, and to be filled up again.  When we rest we allow God to restore, replenish, and refocus our heart and mind.  As we began our spring break we were all sick.  Runny noses, coughing, sneezing, we had it all.  It is amazing how our body lets us know when we need a rest.

Taking time away for renewal is hard because there is so much good that needs to be done.  But saying no to good things enables us to focus on the specific good that we are called to do.  Living into our fullest energies...  How can we say yes to the path that brings us most fully alive in the world?  

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