I recently had a problem at work. I had agreed to meet some people and mentor them in ministry. Every Nation values Leadership Development and mentoring leaders is always time well-spent. But because of some schedule changes, I wasn’t able to meet them at the time we originally expected.
At first I tried to cram it into my schedule anyway. “I’ll make it,” I reasoned. “I just have to get to my first appointment quickly, stay the required amount of time, then dash across the city to get to the next one. I think I can beat the traffic. I’ll just be getting to bed really late. But what’s life without a few sacrifices here and there?”
The problem was it wasn’t just “a few sacrifices here and there.” This has become my lifestyle over the past years. Packed schedules, meetings on top of meetings, and very little margin for anything. After being convicted of this, my wife and I are both attempting to coral our runaway schedules. We don’t want to be driven by pride, need, or the pressure to keep moving. We want to be obedient to God.
So I did something I don’t normally do: I successfully adjusted my schedule. I called the affected people, explained the situation, and offered a more calm meeting time. Instead of packing in one appointment after another, I now had margin to spend time with God, my wife, and my son, while doing my work.
Then something crazy happened! The person understood! They weren’t offended that I had to prioritize my health or my family. They didn’t backslide because I was concerned for my health (and theirs). They didn’t lose their calling because I adjusted our mentoring time so that I could sleep well. I started to wonder why I didn’t do this more often.
But here’s the craziest part, when I moved my appointment the world didn’t end, civilization endured, God’s Kingdom continued to advance, and He remained on the throne. I guess I wasn’t the one holding it all together. Maybe I don’t need to stress as much as I thought. I’m not as indispensable as I think. As Kevin De Young says in his wonderful book, Crazy Busy,
“But the truth is, you’re only indispensable until you say no. You are unique. Your gifts are important. People love you. But you’re not irreplaceable.”
This brings so much peace and freedom. It releases us from being driven by performance. It allows us to be us and God to be God. Maybe this was just for me, but I doubt it. I know there are people out there who are driving themselves to the ground from a false sense of obligation, maybe even using Christian words to justify it. I hope these words help put us in our proper place, the place of grace.