I have had an ‘interesting’ week! I had the week off; I was looking forward to my week off; I had made some vague plans for my week off (you know, really exciting things like wander round the garden centre and spend a whole afternoon in Waterstones!). But then last Monday came, day 1, and I woke up with a rotten migraine. Monday really went out of the window, as did Tuesday. That’s ok, I knew I’d been worn out, I resigned myself to a proper start to holiday time on Wednesday. But on Wednesday I just felt peculiar and utterly exhausted, and by then just a little bit fed up too. On Thursday I still hadn’t moved far away from the chair and the computer (thank the Lord for online friends who I could talk to without having to move!). And on Thursday I had to miss going to be with a friend for a special occassion. On Friday the end of the holiday was looming fast and I’d only been as far as the postbox all week. But on Saturday I woke and knew that something had changed – there was a bit of energy and motivation back again. At least on Saturday evening I could get back to old hometown and old friends and then my parents’ house to keep the plans I’d made for that day. And those plans were so important because moving three times in the last six years has meant that friends aren’t always as close by as they once were. It’s a journey I’ve been willing to make as I follow where I’ve felt (and others have confirmed) God wants me to be. But it can be hard. I do give thanks that the places we’ve arrived at have had wonderful church communities and I love the ministry I’ve been given. I love the people I live among and serve with here and I thank God for the new friends among them, but I know I need to feed a bit more balance into my life. I need to not only try and do my job to the best of my (God enabling) ability, but also to be the best mum I can be, to feed us properly and get the rest I need, to be a taxi-driver and housekeeper (I won’t mention the garden!), to find time for those friends who refresh me and remind me that I’m not ploughing along on my own, to read and pray and keep my own spiritual life fresh and alive… and doing all of that is very hard when the job, which is so rewarding, is also without end. However full I make my days there are always so many more needs or situations or opportunities that could go on the ‘to do’ list – even when those things are for the equipping of others to share the mission of the church.
So, I’ve decided to be a failure! Now that’s not as bad as it sounds! If I think about the things that motivate me to press on and sometimes not get a proper balance I’d say they are 1) a strong desire to please God and try and discover, do and be all that he wills for me; 2) not to let down the people who trust a stipend to me, and to justify receiving it; 3) to try and meet the expectations of those alongside me and produce measurable results (even though God’s view of results may be quite different); 4) a desire to make God and his love known to people who are searching or lost or sad or without purpose and help to strengthen the faith of those who are on the path. Those I’d say are my most pressing motivators day by day, and they’re very difficult to measure. So I’m going to stop trying, keep serving with a measure of that balance thrown in and hope (and pray) for the best! I might find myself one day hearing “well done good and faithful servant”, or I might prove to be a huge disappointment to my God. I might end up getting the clerical equivalent of the sack for not growing a big enough church or filling the coffers or having enough programmes in place or doing what his people can’t see me doing. I might make no difference to the kingdom of God (though I pray I will).
So I’m going to assume the worst while hoping and praying for the best and try not to get to a point again resembling last Monday, because what good will I be to God or anyone?
Let’s see how I do when the demands start rolling in again. It feels quite a relief to accept the possibility of failure – some of the most inspiring characters in the Bible failed, but look what they did for God!