If you're a Christian and have gone to church in the past few years, you've probably heard about a band called Gungor. They're so good. I might write another post entirely dedicated to them but, in this post, they're merely a source. So, the lead singer, Michael Gungor, is a tad genius. I've seen them live a few times and thought to myself "Oh my gosh, Michael Gungor is hands-down the best musician in Christian music." I first got turned onto them when they were just the Michael Gungor band and they had a song titled "White Man" who's lyrics contain things like:
"God is not a man God is not a white man God is not a man sitting on a cloud
God cannot be bought God will not be boxed in God will not be owned by religion
But God is love, God is love, and He loves everyone God is love, God is love, and He loves everyone
God is not a man God is not an old man God does not belong to Republicans God is not a flag Not even American And God does not depend on a government
But God is good, God is good, and He loves everyone God is good, God is good, and He loves everyone
Atheists and Charlatans and Communists and Lesbians And even old Pat Robertson, oh God He loves us all Catholic or Protestant, Terrorist or President Everybody, everybody, love, love, love, love, love"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WybvhRu9KU ( if you wanna hear the whole brilliant thing)
Yeah, take it all in for a second.
Anyhow, if you've heard the name Gungor you've maybe associated it with their mega hit " Beautiful Things" which, for most of us, cracked open our hearts to the part that wonders if anything good can come out of these wretched lives we (feel like we) lead, and pulled out the mysterious truth that God is in the business of making "beautiful things out of dust", and that He'll "make beautiful things out of us".
Again, pause and drink that in. Like a good cabernet... swirl it around your insides and let it stain you with the good news that we're being made new, not by our goodness, but Gods.
So yes, I've been a fan for a while. So naturally, when I heard Michael Gungor was coming out with a book I immediately jumped on Amazon to buy it. Sadly, it was sold out when I put my order in.
It would notify me when it was available to ship, Amazon said.
It would let me know when it was in stock, it told me.
Yesterday I was walking Rillo, my fine pooch and companion. When I opened our front gate to enter into our little courtyard, I saw it. I saw the yellow fluffy paper package addressed to me that could only be one thing!!!! Gungor's book.
I ripped it open when I got into our apartment and beheld its well-designed cover.
I have a few books I need to finish before starting this gem but, I decided to let myself splurge a bit and read the intro *NERD ALERT*.
I didn't know what the book was about but, I knew it was a book written for creators. Me.
Well, I didn't have to read any further than the first line before I realized I wasn't alone in the universe.
The first line of the intro reads,
"Burnout is what happens when you try to avoid being human for too long."
"Welp. That quote should last me a few years" I thought.
It kind of nailed it for me.
I'm going to try to keep this brief but, I think when you're someone who's job is ministry, it can be tempting to try to live up to all of your expectations. I belong to a small church but, the position that I'm in is very seen.
I'm seen every week. I have the privilege of leading our members into worship week in and week out.
With great privilege comes great responsibility, right? Well, I think that's totally true. However, I think sometimes I forget that I got here by grace and grace alone. I sometimes forget that God got me here, and He's the only one who can keep me going. Its not like He got me here and then BOOM, he expects me to take over, being "good enough" from there.
I know that in my line of work, people expect a lot from me in and out of my job parameters. It's a natural part of being in an up-front role at a church. Something happens, though, when I carry the pressure to live up to expectations on Sundays... but Mondays through Saturdays as well...with every single person I'm with who is part of our community which means... everyone I spend time with ( no wonder I'm a hermit?). When I deny myself being human, I start to burn out.
Not only that, but, when I let my life be controlled by what others expect of me and not what the Lord is calling me toward ( especially when its REST) I become a slave to meeting other's expectations, as I perceive them. In a moment of honest confession, I spend a lot of time thinking about if I'm disappointing people and I get sucked dry really easily.
Burnout doesn't happen when I'm letting God pour into me regularly, practicing emotionally healthy tendencies and being vulnerable with those I'm safe with so I can serve in my position at the church with tenacity and fervor. It happens when I'm so afraid of letting others down that I sacrifice all those things in order to perform and appear to have it together. Again, avoiding being human.
I burn out when I cut myself off from myself. When I'm paying attention to how I'm REALLY doing, I can be real with God and let Him replenish me.
The truth is that I burn out way too often.
This book was written by a creator that had burned out. He had come to a point where he was forced to slow down and re-evaluate because he had been performing so often without rest and replenishment from God that he didn't even remember why he started creating in the first place.
He was so afraid to let others down that he stopped letting God pour into him ( the Source of all beauty and his creativity).
Truthfully, I have basically been there for about 3 years. I'm ready to start creating and with that, I'm ready to be human again. I'm ready to let God renew my sense of vision and calling but I know that in order to do that, I have to surrender my need to perform and live up to everyone's expectations.
So here's to humanity. Here's to humble vulnerability. Here's to the God that honors that instead of us trying too hard to LOOK like we have it all together.
Here's to the God that wants our hearts, sucked dry, and wants to restore them. Isn't that awesome?
I'll let you know how the rest of the book goes.
Carly Calmes the First