Today counts as my third day of CrossFit! Yes, the exclamation point is necessary at the end of that sentence. I am in the process of making some changes in my life. A few weeks ago, I noticed a weariness inside of me that I couldn’t seem to get around. Although I had gone through different ups and downs, I never took time to recover from an exhausting 2010, and 2011 was even more fast paced. I kept feeling behind and pressured, and I really felt like I didn’t have the clarity of mind to know what to do. (To be fair, this wasn’t my perspective every day, but looking back on it, I can see the past eight months of this year riddled with stress and long hours.) Now, as I share all this, I am not making a complaint. I am just letting you in on my life.
One of my favorite quotes of late on this subject comes from Andy Stanley.
“If ministry is hard, it just means that you are in ministry.”
I felt bummed out and burned out at the end of NINE this summer. I looked forward to a vacation, but at the family reunion, I didn’t come away refreshed. Just tired. Which led me to the question,
“What do you do when you feel burned down?”
I don’t mean burned out. I mean burned down where the walls of the house of your life have burned all the way down to the ground.
Simple answer: You build it back up.
Enter our story for today. Mr. Nehemiah, an Israelite in exile, cupbearer to the foreign king. Nehemiah discovered that the walls of Jerusalem had been burned down. Jerusalem, the city of God. Jerusalem, the hope of Israel. Jerusalem, the home of the temple. Jerusalem, the city that would not fall.
When Nehemiah learned in exile that Jerusalem was burned to the ground, he sat down and wept. For some days, he mourned and fasted and prayed. (Nehemiah 1:4)
When you realize that the walls have been burned down in your life, mourn, fast and pray. When you realize that the fire in your heart caught everything on fire, burned it all down, and now there is nothing left, mourn, fast and pray.
Then Nehemiah had a conversation with the king to ask him if he could go rebuild the walls. The king actually granted his wish, so Nehemiah went out to rebuild the wall.
I decided that I need to start rebuilding my life. So I am making some changes. So far, so good.
Sleeping habit: Shifting from 12:30 or 1 am and wake up at 8:15, to go to bed at 10 or 11:30 at latest and wake up at 5:30 or 6:30.
Eating habit: Less fried foods. (Most of the time, anyway. Working on this one.) Less appointments with my old friend gluttony. Purposeful eating.
Workout habit: Going to CrossFit at 7:45 am. I am winning in this.
Prayer habit: Pray more on purpose.
If you don’t take control of your life, and assume responsibility for yourself, who will? I know the spiritual answer to this one: God will. Do not blame God for the problems in your life because you have a passive approach. Accept responsibility. God gave you another day, but God does not make you get out of bed.
Now, as you are changing your life, and asking the Holy Spirit to change you as well, you will have critics. If they don’t come from the outside, they’ll come from the inside. Most likely, your critics will come from inside of you. The voices saying you’re not going to be able to make the change, have another cheeseburger, or let’s just take a break today. Those voices are your flesh. And sometimes, you just gotta tell your flesh to go to hell. You don’t have time in your life to reason with your sinful nature.
Nehemiah had an external critic. His name was Sanballat. To try and distract Nehemiah, he said, “Come out and meet with me.” Nehemiah 6.
Nehemiah sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?” That is Paradigm 63.
Paradigm 63: I am doing a great work and I cannot come down.
Sorry, I don’t have time. I am building my life on Christ. I don’t have time for the critics, haters, and especially for my flesh.
Mourn, fast, and pray. Then take action. When you do, take Paradigm 63 with you wherever you go.