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  • "A Musing Pastor"

Running on empty.

Have you ever flown on a commercial airline? How many times have you heard the flight attendant drone on and on about the seat cushion as life preserver and the oxygen mask that needs to be put on 'you' first then your children????

Wait, I want my kids to be safe and protected first!!! The instruction sounds counterintuitive. It is evident, most of us don't realize the effects of cabin depressurization or thin oxygen levels at high altitudes. If we did, we would listen more closely and heed the attendant's advice. We can't help anyone if we are comatose. Randy, will you do __________? YES!, I would love to do ____________!

How many times have you and I been overwhelmed with too many 'good' things to do that we found ourselves too busy to be able to enjoy 'excellent' things? I'm guilty. We want to be liked. We say yes to so many things in order that others will like and admire our efforts. Some folks are wired to always want to give and do for others. There is a problem with this. Self care is such an important part of vibrant living. Giving all the time without rest and recuperation time lead to system failures. We end up comatose and unable to help anyone.

Over the last three days, I have been on interview teams that care for other pastors in our denomination. I am especially sensitive to identify areas of risk in spiritual, physical, and emotional health. Across the board, pastors desire to help everybody. We tend to set our own needs and self care aside sometimes. When the phone rings. off we go to the rescue! We leap over tall buildings, catch speeding bullets, and deflect praise with ease. Aw shucks, it was nothing.....

Hear this. Helping people isn't a bad thing. Being a servant toward others isn't a bad thing. Sacrificing for the good of others isn't a bad thing. All of these areas are biblical mandates. Where trouble arises is found in an empty tank of health. Perhaps we don't eat healthy foods, or get enough exercise. Maybe we don't spend enough time (or any time) in God's word in order to have our spirits strengthened and lifted. We are always giving, giving, giving and never receiving restoration for tired bodies, minds, and souls. Train wreck is on the horizon and fast approaching. Maybe you see the bright light at the end of the tunnel. Oh, look how pretty it is!

Oh, we rationalize and speak of our busy schedules and lament the little time we have to read and study scripture. We'll talk about our achy body that won't allow for exercise (No pains no gains). Maybe, we'll consider healthy food but gravitate toward sweets as a comfort food in times of stress. We need these things; we deserve them.

For the record, this blog is preaching at the writer offering it. I am that person who often thinks he can go and go. Yes, many days, I am preaching to the choir. I know I need to set boundaries and know I need to learn the art of saying 'no' once in a while. I do! I do! I do!

Following are just four times of many when Jesus went away to be alone. It was much needed and life saving.

1.) "At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them." Luke 4:42, NIV)

2.) "The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place." (Mark 6:30-32, NIV)

3.) "When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place." (Matthew 14:13, NIV) (Upon hearing John the Baptist had been executed)

4.) "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed." (Mark 1:35, NIV)

Eat well, exercise a little, immerse in scripture, and get healthier today!

PS: I'm resting today so I will be helpful tomorrow.

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