Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Soul Weariness and Relearning Ministry, Part 2

I don't really know how I got to this place of soul weariness, but I don't think it is a bad place to be. I think that it is time for me to relearn and rethink what it means to be a minister, what it means to care for others. I think that it is time for me to listen more and speak less, to have more questions than I do answers.

But it feels like going 65 miles an hour and then throwing the car into reverse. It's opposite of my flesh, of how I have formed my identity in the Christian world. I want to be busy and important, and there is a perverse pride that comes with having too much on my plate. I relish being competent and avoid looking clueless at all costs. I look at some of my cohorts in ministry, at how packed their schedule is, full of events and people, and I find a desire to measure up to their standard welling up. But right now my soul can't put that desire into action. That's a good thing. I am in season of quiet and study, of waiting and relearning.

Last week I was at UNCG prayer-walking with two IV colleagues, and as we prayed, I kept thinking, "Maybe we should talk to this person or that person. Maybe we need to stop praying and start asking people what they think about the Lord. Maybe we need to stop praying and do something." But the Lord had led me to Psalm 40 before our walk began, and God began reminding me of the first verse - "I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry." And as I began to feel the urge to do something God told me to wait. He told me that if I needed to walk and pray the campus for a year, that would be enough. He told me that when He wanted me to do something, He would make it clear and that He would be the one to lead, guide, and initiate. My job was to wait and seek His face.

As I talked about this with a friend recently, he asked me why I so often felt compelled to make things happen, and I told him that sometimes I felt like if I didn't do something, who would, that I felt as though the Lord was asleep at the wheel sometimes. Now I know that most of you would never think something like that, and I certainly would not say that aloud, but my "lived theology" reflects that I think the world is gone to pot and it's up to me to fix it, with or without God's help. I know - arrogant.

And so I am learning to listen. I am learning to say no and to trust that I am no one's last hope. Right now I say no mostly because I am tired, but I find that as I say no, the needs are still being met. The Lord is showing me that He is the one who provides and saves, and as I listen to Him, I may be lucky enough to be part of His means sometimes.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thank you for your sharing. I just googled "soul weariness" and your message appeared. I was feeling soul weary, but did not have the strength to do anything. I felt like I should pray and read my bible and I will do so after sending this comment.
You have reminded me of two lessons, that it is ok for me to wait on the Lord and let him renew my strength, and that he is still working - when I am not. I too am grateful when I can be a part of the big plan, but can learn to rest in his grace as well.