As we started this new year, I became mindful of my tendency to wear myself out for all the wrong things. You see, I was reading along in Isaiah when I tripped over this phrase: "You have not wearied yourselves for Me, O Israel." I knew exactly what God was talking about. And I knew I was just as guilty as Israel was.
After over eleven years in full-time ministry, I know full-well what it's like to weary myself. I've put in the ridiculously long hours. I've juggled an impossible schedule. I've reached the point of burnout and lived to tell about it.
And as I fall in bed exhausted at the end of a long day week month year decade, my heart sighs, "I'm weary..."
If I listen closely enough, I hear God's voice, ever loving and gentle. "But you haven't wearied yourself for Me."
Without even realizing it, I've been wearing my exhaustion like a badge of honor. My demanding schedule and ever-growing to do lists became my identity. As if fatigue is the mark of an accomplished missionary.
If I'm most honest, I wearied myself because I thought my value lay in my productivity. I mistook accomplishments for significance. I bought into the lie that busyness is the telltale sign of successful leadership.
But while I was getting stuff done, and even---by God's grace---impacting lives, I was ultimately toiling for the wrong reasons.
The work of discipling young leaders in Africa is worth every ounce of my effort and energy. I want to tire myself out doing what I love. But I need to keep the motives of my heart in check. Wearying myself for some self-serving purpose is just plain tiring.
So as I look out over the horizon of 2010, this much I know is true: I want to weary myself only for Him.
Is this something you've struggled with? What are some practical ways we can keep this in check?