This is another in the series of posts responding to “Faith and Life Questions” that were asked last fall.
1) Q: “How do you find balance between fully using the talents God gave and being exhausted?”
2) Q: “Packers or Vikings?”
Great questions. And in your first one, you nailed a tension that we all live within. In a culture that sometimes seems based upon the concept of “more,” it’s a challenge for us to figure out when to say “enough.”
I believe that God gifts us enough. We are gifted in ways to fulfill our call (and then some). But we tend to get caught in the trap of trying to always do “more” with what God has given us. And that’s not altogether a bad thing. I believe we should push ourselves, stretch our boundaries and “step out of the boat.”
But when our quest for doing more, serving more, being more begins to lead us into exhaustion, then we are being bad stewards of the gifts God has given us, and frankly, our own health and wellness. And we often cross this line because we forget to trust in God that things can happen without us.
I believe that there are two things we do to work to maintain our sense of balance:
- We rest.
- We make sure we are being fed.
“We are to fear and love God, so that we do not neglect his Word and the preaching of it, but regard it as holy and gladly hear and learn it.” – Martin Luther’s meaning to the 3rd Commandment; The Small Catechism; p. 4.
Luther is linking the idea of Sabbath, to the idea of worship and renewal. And I believe they cannot be separated. I think of our faith as a cycle: We begin at worship where we are “fed” by Word and sacrament (the phrase we use in worship is “we are nourished at the Lord’s table.”) and we are sent out into the world to live and serve. But God created life to be cyclical; and so we loop back and return to worship to be fed again, and then are sent back out. The first step in making this a life and faith habit is to admit our dependence on it. We have to admit that we cannot do it by ourselves, and that we depend on God. And then we return. Our whole lives, we maintain this cycle. Fed and nourished…sent to serve…fed and nourished…sent to serve…
There are other things too: Good friendships rooted in faith; scripture; prayer, etc… but these elements all connect with this cycle.
And of course, we have to know that we have limits and cannot do it all. This is where trust comes into play. We trust in God and in the community to serve when and where we cannot. And so sometimes we have to be willing to step back and rest. (Take a nap! It will be ok. Trust that it’s ok.)
Your life is a gift, and the faith journey is meant to be a marathon, not a sprint. So pace yourself, and be sure you return to God’s table, to let Word and sacrament prepare you for what comes next.
As far as your second question: Vikings. All the way. No question.
Thanks for asking!