by Phil Baker
I’m coming off a very busy summer. My wife and I took a trip to Pennsylvania to research her family tree. I helped Montgomery Bell State Park put on their first ever “Ernest Day”. Our VBS is always a big but rewarding effort. We did a 5th year of Movies by Moonlight. I had minor surgery. And I started learning the banjo. Phew! I was looking forward to becoming less busy and fading into the background for a while. But what I didn’t anticipate was that my self-worth would also fade.
As the temperature began to fall with the leaves, I started to fall into a funk. I felt like I was descending into “the winter of [my] discontent.” Why is this? Things in my life are pretty good. I have a roof over my head, money in the bank, and food on the table. As I thought about this, I was reminded of all the things I did this summer. I was missing the busyness of it all. My identity had become tied up in it. So when all this went away so did my identity, my self-worth.
God softly whispered to me “It’s time to slow down. Let’s spend some time together.” I read 2 Corinthians 3:5 which reminded me that my identity, my adequacy, my sufficiency should be in Christ. We often find our identity in other things – our jobs, our family, our stuff – when God should be at the core of who we are. What’s just as janky is when we supplant Him with His gifts or His mission. While well intentioned, these also miss the mark.
In his book “Spiritual Rhythms” Mark Buchanan illustrates the seasons in our life. Each season is necessary for healthy growth. Just as a tree must lose its leaves and go dormant for a while so that it can leaf out in glorious green again in the spring, we have to retreat at times into God’s loving arms so that He can nurture us and prepare us for our next season of fruitfulness.
If you too find yourself discouraged or a little down. It’s okay. Maybe you just need to go dormant for a while. Spend some time just being with God. Set everything else aside, including what you are doing for Him. You don’t need to do anything for Him. He is enough.