Three days after coming to the States for a Christmas break I opened a new document on Evernote and typed in the words “how did I get here?” The word “here” in that question referred to a place of physical and emotional exhaustion. All of us have to come to the point where we are just drained and find it hard to be motivated, this is especially true for those in ministry, and Missionaries deal with it more often than most since we are on the front lines spiritually.
Getting to the point of exhaustion isn’t a sin (it happens to everybody) but it’s important that we take time to step back and think about how we got to that point of exhaustion. Often this evaluation will reveal habits or choices that led towards our being exhausted.
As the list of reasons for my weariness grew I noticed that most of the struggles began in late November….right around the time that kids were out of school on break.
Because this is a Presidential election year on the island schools closed down in early December (the teachers would be connected to the winning political group). This along with some school holidays because of testing meant the kids spent a lot more time at my house than before.
In the past they would come by after school at 3:00 and our Bible club would run for an hour. After that I would do some computer tutoring with some of them for another hour, and maybe take a walk. It was a good system…but take school out of the equation and suddenly they are showing up at 7:00 or 8:00 🙂
At first I tried ministering to all of them but didn’t have the energy so instead I began:
- Ignoring them
- Telling them to only come at certain times
- Sending them away
- And finally shutting everything down so they got nothing
The thing that really bothered me was this change in scheduling (Christmas break) took my normal system and turned into chaos. Even worse I adapted myself to the chaos by trying to minister to everyone who came on my porch!
Staring at that document three weeks ago the Lord helped me realize how I’ve been called not to adapt myself to the chaos of island life, but create a place of structure within it. A place where there are rules that must be enforced…and its okay to say no
Around noon yesterday I got extremely nauseous and spent most of the afternoon in bed. Personally feel this is my bodies way of welcoming me back to the islands heat and thankfully feel much better after getting medication this morning. Knowing I didn’t have the energy or stamina to teach kids yesterday a note was put on the door informing them that Mr. John was sick so there would be no Bible Club.
I laid in bed at 2:55 as children loudly ran up on the porch and read the letter. Of course they didn’t just go away 🙂
- They rang the bell
- Ran around the house screaming my name
- Knocked on windows
- and came back about every half-hour to do it again
Other than one time for some particularly persistent ringers I never came to the door (may have had something to do with the room spinning).
This morning two kids stopped by on the way to school and asked where I was yesterday, after learning in bed they were shocked “but we rang the bell and shouted your name” the boy said. I explained to him that I was sick and didn’t want to give something to all of them, but in a deeper sense taught him a very important lesson.
Sometimes Mr. John won’t come to the door
so that when he does it will be in the best way possible.