September 18, 2012

Too tired to *not* go ;)

College finals season is appropriately called "hell week" by students, but it's also the busiest, most stressful time for us teachers. We need not just intelligence but wisdom; we need patience and grace not just towards students (and their parents) but towards our colleagues too.

Thankfully I still get to eat and sleep but it's not enough. I need to rest.

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion?

Come to Me. Get away with Me and you'll recover your life.

I'll show you how to take a real rest. 
Walk with Me and work with Me --- watch how I do it. 

Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.
I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. 

Keep company with Me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly.                      

--- Jesus (Matthew 11)

Religion need not be something done inside church. Religion can refer to any *performance* that would give the doer points depending on how he or she pleases the crowd. How hard (impossible!) it is to please everybody... and add the fact that public opinion is fickle and rarely reasonable. It's burnout waiting to happen.

Watch how I do it, God says. When I started this post, I was barely finishing my class records and still deciding whether to go to church or not, whether to lead our group or ask for a substitute or just call off today's meeting. How exactly do I interpret "watching God do it"?

But the point is, it's God doing the work, not me.

Which means, I don't really have to go that night. God can send comfort and peace to me and my friends wherever we are.

But this also means, I can choose to go and watch the "magic" (or "miracle") happen. Because it's not about me and it doesn't depend on my performance.


So I did go to church that night. Our group met for only 30 minutes (compared to our regular two-hour session), where we shared quick stories of how God is working in our lives and relationships, and of course prayed for each other. Then two of us attended the last service; I listened and was encouraged in many ways. I arrived home late, with takeout food for the family (a treat from my brother and me).

How about that! In a few hours, I went from burnout to overflow, and from dog-tired to perky lively...

Fatigue need not be a reason to stay home and do the same, stay the same. The effort in transportation and socializing would be rewarded n-fold. Fatigue is actually the best reason to be blessed, to be on the receiving end of grace and inspiration and goodness.

Again, definitely God could bless and help us wherever we are and whatever we do (or not). And we all have our too-tired-to-get-out-of-the-house days. But my point is, we don't have to worry about "having a bad day" or "not being good enough today" to go to church. It's actually when we empty ourselves of our selves, that we are able to receive more of Him.

To be an agent of blessing, all we need to do is show up. Because we are just instruments, and God is the Source.

When you are arrested, don't worry about how to respond or what to say. 
God will give you the right words at the right time.

--- Jesus (Matthew 11)

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