People often seem to fall into the trap of trying to do too much. I’ve sometimes thought, facetiously, that it is simply in our DNA to do so. Perhaps it is an implied or even unstated part of our culture that we do it. There is, I think, the possibility that Christians, in particular, fall into that trap because of a works-based background, mentality, or theology. I have personally stepped across the line into excessive busy-ness out of the fear that if I didn’t jump in, I would be seen as a slacker or one who didn’t care, or that I might be judged (silently, of course) as one of those whose Christianity might not be all that he tries to project it to be.
You know, busy-ness is a tap dance for us. As Christians we try to grow our skills as we learn more and become stronger in our faith and more aware of what we actually believe. Let’s take a brief look at the skill of discernment, for instance. This important skill is what helps us to determine if we’re going to help someone, how we’re going to help them, when and with what we’re going to help them. It is also one of the chief means by which we determine if we are following our “marching orders” as Christians or not. And we can easily find that we are very prone to wanting to do more…often to the point where we rapidly approach our “crash and burn” state, our withdrawing state, or our quitting state. Many of us don’t see the signs and we do “crash and burn”–or worse.
Picture your Christian walk as a campfire if you will. If you don’t keep feeding a campfire by putting new wood on it, it will slowly die out. If you over feed the campfire by continuously putting too much wood on it, it will soon burn out of control and be of no use to anyone. The goal is to keep it burning nicely.
In our walk, we need to pay attention to what is going on with us. We should neither under feed ourselves nor over feed ourselves, just as we should neither under feed nor over feed others through ourselves, lest we render ourselves useless to anyone. What is left in an empty coffee cup? Certainly not the full delightful richness of what once occupied that cup–your coffee. Don’t let the cup that is you go empty, please. It will be of no use to you or anyone in that condition.
There are some things that come to mind in this regard: pay attention to discernment; say no without guilt once in a while; love yourself enough to pamper yourself often; don’t forget to stop long enough to sniff the roses; and, don’t be an empty coffee cup.