It is summer.
I am drained. I didn’t even have time or energy to realize how very drained I had become until a few days after I left campus for the semester. And then I couldn’t identify it, because no matter how in tune with myself I like to believe I am, I am very much not.
But I’ve figured it out.
Burnout. I am experiencing ‘burnout’. I have a whole lot of energy and resources too. I’m not sure that I ever have experienced burnout. But I am now.
I am currently in Anderson, IN, sprawled out on a lovely dark green couch in the living room of a house occupied by seven other people, and we are the Mercy House interns, phase five. And I am excited to see what is in store for us.
But I am also tired. I’ve always maintained a busy schedule, and this year was more intense than even the others, because of my decision to be a Taylor University PA, and then a series of unexpected life events that sapped all of my emotional resources away away.
Although, through everything (and there are a ton of things God was teaching me / reminding me of…), this is reminding me of one crucial thing. I can’t handle things on my own.
And rest is a gift.
I pulled out Mark Buchanan’s book The Rest of God this afternoon, which our English Hall PA staff was supposed to read together last semester, but I actually didn’t open once, because, ironically, I was too busy. The book begins by his defense of maintaining the Sabbath.
I have always been skeptical of this command. It seems like an outdated tradition, and very unpractical in my busy world. A very stressful addition to the other things I have to do.
Buchanan suggests that we think of the Sabbath like liturgy, which he describes as a unifying, connecting thing. A suggestion of practical action for a scriptural concept, one that you can follow as closely or tweak as much as you would like. He described it like choreography. I think of it like jazz.
Jazz music has a basic melody line that everyone follows, a sound structure that everything revolves around and builds on, but each line is very open to improvisation and experimentation.
This is our freedom in Christ.
All the different instruments have their own variations to the main melody, based on their abilities to create different sounds, and different instruments are prominent at different times, but all follow the same basic melody and fit together seamlessly to create a unified sound that is beautiful, sometimes jarring, sometimes smooth, sometimes unexpected, but always beautiful.
Which I think is actually a nice picture of the Church, and our unity in Christ.
But that’s just what I think.
I’m still working through my thoughts on what God has begun showing me about my flawed thinking in a Christian college environment, and I’ll be continuing to write and think about that this summer, but I think interspersed throughout will be my thoughts as I read this book, which has definitely reappeared at a perfect time, as I’m realizing how very tired I am, and willing to give God, and His ideas about the Sabbath and rest, a listen.