I’m re posting a comment I made in a friend’s blog to remind me of my tendency to do the wrong thing — even in retirement!
“…I have the desire to do what is right but I cannot carry it out. ” Rom. 7:15
So do I leave houses and land and spouse, and children to devote all my time to ministry. Do I place my health at risk by long hours of service to others without self-care? Do I devote all my income to serve the poor when my credit card balances (and stress) continue to rise trying to meet the needs of my family?
These are personal situations I experienced early in professional ministry. Balance never entered my thinking. Whole-hearted commitment required every sacrifice – seeking first the kingdom and the promise that God would take care of everything else. My mentors would shout “vacation? How can you think of vacation when people are perishing all around you and headed for hell?”
What I failed to consider was that my perspective was flawed, my character defects colored my decisions. I saw God as a Tyrant-King who required continuous unquestioned obedience. I had to be a willing servant or I was rebellious and unfit for the Kingdom.
As my marriage and relationship with my children declined, I spiraled into physical burn-out and clinical depression.
In recovery, medical intervention and therapy, I learned that neglecting my physical and emotional needs put me at risk – so off balance that I needed medication. For me, rest, order and balance became a lifeline through which Jesus began a work of grace that saved my life, my marriage and my relationships. Like Elijah of old, I needed food, rest and care. I needed boundaries and balance.
Perhaps others have a special dispensation of grace that allows for the scales of balance to tip in their favor. Yet it is crucial, in my experience, to consider and solicit accountability for life-balance as well as spiritual growth in order to sustain a healthy and long-term ministry throughout my life.