A lot of people struggle with this, but with Christians there is the whole added element of spiritualizing everything. When people ask me to help them, to take part in something, etc, I struggle to say no. This is partly because I really do just struggle to say no, and partly because I forget to be realistic. If someone asks me something while I’m in a good mood and feeling energetic, I immediately say yes, forgetting about the three essays, the build up to exams, and the other commitments I have. Only later do I regret not thinking it through.
In any kind of church setup, it’s especially difficult because it’s God’s work so it must be good, right? If someone asks me something “it’s a sign” that I should do it. NOPE. Wrong answer. People’s expectations of you are different than God’s expectations, and surprisingly God’s are way easier to handle and deal with, because He wants what is best for us in the long run and He knows exactly what we’re up to and when.
I am currently on my couch after being sick all week long and I’m on antibiotics, resting by force because I didn’t take time to do it voluntarily, with no desire to see or talk to anyone except Jesus and my parents, because I took on too many things and had a miniature burn out. I am recovering in every sense; not because other people are jerks and loaded things onto me, but because I took too many things on myself that God never intended me to. Every person is different, too. I happen to be an introvert and need rather long periods of solitude, with no people, no Facebook, no communication period; just chilling with God, whether I’m doing “God things” or not. I need to recharge, and I haven’t been doing it.
God’s yoke is easy and his burden is light (Matthew 11:30). If your burden is heavy, something isn’t right. God never intended us to be crazed energizer bunnies running around like chickens with our heads chopped off. God is all about peace in the midst of chaos, about everlasting joy, about rest that is found in Him. Psalm 23, which I blogged about a while ago, is the most obvious passage about rest and peace (I should have taken my own advice, yes?).
You have your calling, both ultimately and daily, that God wants you to do, and that He’s given you the strength to do. You can’t take someone else’s calling on your shoulders simply because God didn’t give you the strength or tools you need to do it. You also can’t take on so many things that you’re stretched thin, because God, quite frankly, doesn’t do that to people. Even as I write this I feel nagging guilt about the things I’ll have to say no to in the future, but that isn’t from God either.
As I read this morning in Come Away My Beloved: “Do not be distressed by the misunderstanding of people. Let me take care of them Myself…As you give Me My rightful place and do not allow others to intrude, you will be at peace with Me.” This is between you and God. If people don’t understand it, or get offended, or make judgments about you because you obey God and not their expectations of you, that, frankly, is their problem. The people who love you should understand and if anything should be encouraging you with much cheering and confetti to make God and His expectations your priority even when it conflicts with theirs. God will sort it out; you do what He wants you to, and the rest will be history.