When Activity Becomes Your Identity


About a month ago I had a life-changing moment in Wal-Mart.  It actually surprised me since I’m not used to having earth shattering revelations beside the fruit and produce section, but that moment is guiding my thinking a month later.

Pretty much everyone who knows me realizes this but I am a “doer” (or spaz but I use  that term lovingly) who absolutely loves action and “doing things.”

Theres nothing wrong with this because God creates some of us with a love for activity.  Recently when a ministry team came to Barrouallie I noticed a group of them outside talking while everyone else was having a meeting inside.  “Oh don’t worry about them they are doers” someone told me after I asked about it, “they think planning is boring.”

For me being a doer used to mean spending as little time home as possible…days were filled with mentoring, english as a second language, discipleship, tutoring, volunteering and pretty much anything else I could fill my time with.  

When I came back for a two-month furlough however things were very different.

There were no more volunteering opportunities

No training runs

No mentoring or tutoring sessions at school

Instead I was just home

Now before you get any ideas I’m not sitting around watching Netflix and eating potato  chips all day, there are plenty of things for me to do at home before the return to St. Vincent  

  1. Finish a sermon series on Joshua
  2. Create power points for discipleship material on Evangelism
  3. Create new discipleship material on how to study the bible, and approval addiction
  4. Get barrels packed and shipped to St Vincent
  5. Report to Churches (travel and meetings)
  6. Start blogging again (and this time I mean it!)
  7. Further education in Church growth
  8. Create a long-term plan for growth of Tabernacle Baptist Church in Barrouallie
  9. Communicate with Churches and supporters
  10. Bottom line is I’m busy

The problem is 90% of that work is done at home staring at a computer screen which for a doer who is geared towards interaction with people can be pretty frustrating.

In a deeper sense this activity (ministry with people) became something that I used to gauge how successful my day was.  If there were four ministry opportunities that day then I viewed it as a success.  It’s harder for a doer to view completing four sessions on the bible study methods class as a success

Every day that passed with little activity (face to face ministry) I became more and more frustrated till finally I began leaving the house in the afternoon to find something that was activity based so at the end of the day I could feel better about myself.  Which brings me to Wal-Mart four weeks ago.  

While grabbing some groceries it occurred to me how many times I choose activity that brings immediate gratification over deeper work that would truly make a difference like wrestling  with a blog post or creating discipleship material to train future leaders.

The thing about work like that is it isn’t flashy or fun (especially for doers) however in the long run it’s those ministries that make an impact.  A sermon or lesson that I’ve spent hours over will make a bigger difference on someone’s life than a 30-minute tutoring session.

Since that time I’ve spent most of my time at home and with the Lords help have embraced the less exciting aspects of ministry.  It does make it harder to view my day as successful at night, but I know this hard work will create great opportunities for activity on the island.

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