Do you ever feel like the world depends on you? That if you were to stop planning, running, organizing, breathing...that it would all fall apart? The dishes wouldn't get done, the kids wouldn't be fed, the husband would be hopelessly lost, your boss wouldn't survive without you, the Sunday school class/program/Bible study/music would shrivel up and die....if you stopped. So you don't. You never stop because the world needs to turn and it can't turn if you aren't spinning around.
That, my friend, is the key to burn out and disaster. Because, and I don't know how to say this nicely so please bear with me: you. are. not. that. important. I won't say it twice because it stings too much.
If you were no longer here today, the world would carry on. Though your family and friends would be devastated for a time, they would move on eventually. It can be a painful reality to dwell on, so often we don't.
We have a tremendous need to be needed, and we would like to think that we are bigger, smarter, stronger than what we really are. We see ourselves as the hero in every story, the solution to all problems, and the ONE who can meet the expectations and desires in our relationships. The problem: it's not true.
Actually, it's not a problem....it's a GIFT! It is a gift that God did not create us to carry such heavy burdens. We weren't meant to make the world go round. We weren't meant to fulfill endless expectations. We weren't meant to live as if we were God.
I discovered this truth when I moved the first time in my early twenties. I left my family, my hometown and my church and found, to my chagrin, that they managed quite nicely without me. Turns out that my leaving was not quite as catastrophic as I secretly wished it to be. There have been other times that I had to leave a ministry, a job, a relationship, another town, another church and found, each time, that the work carried on with or without my presence.
It was unsettling, humbling, slightly hurtful, at first. But I came to realize along the way that it was GOOD. How wonderful that the church didn't fall apart because I needed to move to another town. How marvelous that the ministry continue to grow in spite of the fact that I could no longer be a part of it. What a relief that my absence did not cause a disaster! Because at the end of the day, it is God's work, His ministry, His family, His church, and He will carry on the work with....or without....me.
And that leads to a beautiful discovery.....I am not very important in the overall scheme of God's grand design....but man....I am VALUABLE! God wants me. He desires my company and my friendship. He gave up His own Son to die on the cross so that the sin that separated me from Him could be overcome! Who does that?! He did. Because He loves me and finds value in me. In me.
If that wasn't enough, He then offers that I join Him, a partnership of sorts, in a journey of working together. He's definitely doing all the heavy lifting and hard work; I'm just showing up each day and asking what needs to be done. He gives me the strength, the tools, and His Spirit to make it happen. He gets all the glory, and I get to be a part of something so beautiful and fantastic that will last beyond the years I breathe.
Oh, I'm very aware that I am not that important in this world, and I'm okay with that because I get to live with the knowledge that I am loved beyond measure and valued by the God of the universe.