It all began after Operation Everything this past year.
I was exhausted.
Even more so than usual.
Each year after OE, you always end up exhausted, but I had never felt this tired. This exhausted.
I felt like I couldn’t go on. It was a struggle.
I was just about to burn out.
After praying myself and seeking the counsel of those who speak into my life, I decided to do something that I had never done before. Effective August 1, 2014, I would step away from my responsibilities as a youth leader.
It was a hard decision.
There were fears.
There were doubts.
Man, were there ever questions…
Would the youth group survive without me?
Will the students that I’ve spent so much time discipling accept and understand this?
What will the members of the church think?
I took all of those questions, doubts and fears and dealt with them head on. I walked away.
It’s 4:47 p.m. on August 26th and I can say with complete confidence that it has been the best decision that I have ever made.
I learned so much about myself…
Too often, I view myself as the savior of the teens of the church. I’m clearly the one that did the work in bringing the students from where they were to where they are now.
I’ve realized that so much of who I am is tied into the teens. I’m the youth guy. I’m the powerpoint guy. I’m a small group leader. I’m the pop buyer. While these are true, this month has been a painful reminder that first and foremost, I am a child of the King. That and that alone should be enough.
August 10th was probably the hardest day of this whole sabbatical for me. I woke up with such a strong urge to go to the final FUEL. I felt like I had to be there. Youth group couldn’t run if I wasn’t going to be there. Very reluctantly I spent the evening at home, wondering what was going on. Wondering if I missed anything. I felt incomplete. I felt empty. I felt I missed something.
The next night, I stayed up late reading a book that I purchased a few months ago The Wisdom of the Enneagram. The whole premise of the book is understanding your personality and how you can use the strengths and weaknesses of your personality to best connect to God. Through the Enneagram, I’ve realized that my involvement in so many activities are tied to feelings that I’m worthless. If I’m not doing anything with my time, I’m not worthwhile to anyone. I have to feel needed.
This is why this month has been so hard. I’ve done nothing this month for anyone at Delaware Grace to fill a need or be wanted. I need to be needed. Once I understood that, so much became clear.
…I too often view myself as the savior of the teens. That it is my work alone that has changed the teens from who they were to who they are.
…I suck at setting boundaries for myself. Because so much of my worth comes from feeling worthwhile, it’s hard for me to take a day a week and rest in who God says that I am. If I’m not spending time with the teens, or doing something for the church, why would anyone appreciate me? How wrong this idea is!
…God’s grace and the beauty of the Gospel is something that I need to be reminded of daily. If I don’t realize that it is the grace of God alone that I am saved and that it was in my train wrecked, sinful life that Jesus stepped into and rescued me from I so easily think that I am the savior of the teens and I need to do things so that God loves me.
I hope you take time today and realize who God says you are and what implications that has on your life. When you realize that it is finished, you can rest in what God has already done. You don’t have to keep on striving on making yourself lovely for God.
I cannot wait to get back involved in the lives of the students at Delaware Grace. I’m so excited to watch what God will do in and through them this year and amazed that He allows me to play a part in His master plan.
For His Glory and our joy,
For His love is never, never, never based on our performance, never conditioned by our moods—of elation or depression. The furious love of God knows no shadow of alteration or change. It is reliable. And always tender. – Brennan Manning