OnFire Encouragement Letter
OnFire #275 The Creepy Guy Emerges
We have a concrete figurine in our backyard, one of those little fishing boy statues which sits by our goldfish pond. Not long after we moved in we affectionately named him, “The Creepy Guy in the Backyard” because all he does is hang around and stare blankly into space. By the way, we like the Creepy Guy, even though we gave him this name, and the boys have resisted our suggestions that we should give him a new coat of paint. They like the “character” he has right now and he would be “too pretty” if we freshened him up.
As I write, the Creepy Guy is melting from the snow bank. With a few warm days his hat and eyes have emerged. I like the way he seems to peer above the snow and I think of him as a symbol of the changing seasons. There is hope for warmer and longer days ahead.
In my last OnFire I wrote about the difference between real and perceived limits. I wrote it on what I call a “low motivation day.” I get these occasionally, not regularly, but once in a while, when I am tired and not feeling like I can push myself. I’ve learned over the years that they last about a day so I just plan to do simple tasks which don’t require a lot of brain power or emotional strain. And then the next day I go back to my normal pace.
That didn’t happen. My low motivation day turned into the better part of a week. I have to be honest, it was a little unnerving. I like to work hard and to push myself. And yet I couldn’t seem to muster my full amount of energy. I put myself on “light duty.” The reality was I couldn’t do much more, anyway.
I’m still not sure what happened, other than I was probably exhausted, spiritually, mentally and physically. The next week was better, last week better again. I wouldn’t say I’m back up to 100%, but then again I’m not sure I want to go back to running at 100%. I recently told one of our church leaders that there are seasons when we go flat out, when it is necessary, and it even feels good to put it all out there. But, I said, we can’t do that all the time. (Someday we’ll all be better at taking our own advice.)
Somebody is going to read this and be worried about my health and my mental or spiritual state. A lot of my relatives are on the OnFire list, including my mother. I’m OK. Really.
Here’s the thing, the reason why I’m writing all this. I figure that if I go through something, other people are going through the same thing, too. And that by sharing my experiences it helps and encourages other people. We’re not alone in this journey.
It’s OK if we’ve been running at 100% and we get tired and need to back off. Really. There really are limits. And it is OK to tell someone we’re tired. We often do much better at telling other people they can take their breaks. Somehow we think we’re unique and so we don’t need it for ourselves.
I think there are lots of reasons why we feel others can and should take breaks, but we can’t. 1) Something won’t get done. Well, sometimes things need to go undone before someone else will step up. 2) We need to prove we can handle it, that we’re tough enough for the job. But, who are we trying to prove it to? 3) Out of a sense of duty. This is my poison, and it’s a tough one because I’m often motivated by the feeling, “It’s the right thing to do.” I’m not sure I have the answer to this one, other than to say, sometimes I just can’t go any further, and that’s OK.
I’m guessing someone in OnFire Land needs to hear this today. I can’t be the only one riding this train. Be encouraged. It’s OK to admit we’re tired and that we’ve reached our limits. Furthermore, it’s even OK to say No.
The Creepy Guy is melting out of the snow bank. We’ll emerge from being buried, too.
I hope this helps. Be OnFire. Oh, and don’t take the “Creepy Guy” metaphor too far. I’m not suggesting that you or I are “creepy.”
OnFire is a bi-weekly letter on faith and character written by Troy Dennis. Troy is the Pastor of Family Ministries at Highfield Baptist Church, Moncton NB Canada. This letter published Mar 5, 2012. To subscribe or reply, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Archives are located at www.onfireletter.com. Blog located at www.onfireletter.blogspot.com.