If you need help get it.
I believe that everyone needs time to rejuvenate and pull back from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. I have learned that downtime is not a luxury rather it is a critical component of a balanced life. This is especially true for anyone who has the privilege and responsibility of leading others. How one unwinds is often as diverse as our likes and personalities. One of the most helpful ways for me to unwind is to physically get away from everything and everyone, rest then have uninterrupted time to talk to and hear from the Lord. Last week I took a few days to drive to Atlanta. Driving alone was refreshing and peaceful. I was on my own schedule and was not rushing to depart or arrive. I needed time and space to commune with the Father.
After arriving in Atlanta I rested. It is amazing that you can run non stop at home but when you finally “get away” your body seemingly snatched back every hour of sleep debt that you owed it. For about 36 hours all I did was physically rest. After feeling rejuvenated I began to continue the personal and spiritual components of the trip.
As a pastor often you spend time pouring out – however, one must be ever so intentional that there are times of pouring in to ensure success long term and avoid burnout. To this end I inquired and I found a local church that was holding a Friday night service. I went and sat anonymously among the people. It felt good to simply enjoy the service and hear God. I felt reenergized and lifted as I left the church and soon merged onto the highway ramp. About three miles in I noticed that even for Atlanta there was an overabundance of cars on the road given the hour. As a past Atlanta resident I knew what to expect and this was certainly not it. I soon remembered that he Final Four was being held in Atlanta and the game apparently let out the same time that church did.
On a good day Atlanta’s drivers can be creative in both their speed and use of lane changing strategies, but on this night it was like nothing I had ever experienced. It was as if the entirety of America’s melting pot of driving temperaments were on the highway, doing their own things, all at the same time. Too fast, too slow, too distracted…we could tell that we were in for quite the ride home.
We could tell who was not used to driving on Atlanta’s highways. We could tell which people were unaware that the posted 55mph signs on the highway were only a laughable suggestion and in order to survive they were soon going to learn that they needed to move to the slow lane and add 20 miles to that suggested speed immediately to avoid being crushed. We could tell who was confused by Atlanta’s circular highway as they switched lanes from left to right in desperate attempts to get to their next destinations.
We could tell who were so distracted by their team winning that even on the highway they just couldn’t manage to keep their entire body in the car. We could tell who was unaware of Atlanta’s cell phone laws. The longer we drove – the more we could tell.
We could tell those who were “way past” drunk as they kept swerving into our lanes and overcorrecting when they realized that they were driving erratically. Amazingly, most people that I have just described may have been totally oblivious to the non verbal messages that they were sending.
Likewise in our everyday lives we can often look at others and know that something is off…even if we can not pinpoint exactly what that something is. I believe that when we recognize that we don’t have to hide our issues we position ourselves to get the help that we need.
On the highway of life realize that you are not alone. Your issues affect other people. If you need help get it. If you need to talk reach out. If you need a friend show yourself friendly (Proverbs 18:24) No matter who we are we all need to remember we are in this together.
Had there been a car accident I would not have been exempt from injury because I was coming from church versus someone else coming from another location. We travel together, take risks together and depend on one another to stay alert, aware and in our own lane.
As we take time to spring clean our homes – let us also take time to check our lived for areas that are causing us – or those around us – hurt, harm or confusion. You are not alone. We are driving beside you and we want to help and believe it or not – someone can tell you need it. This week get help now so you can be a help to someone else later.