Go, go, go. Stop. Go, go, go. Stop. One of the challenges in life is when we have too many “goes” and not enough “stops.”
This week, Laura and I have been spending time with Doug and Shelly Kallestad in Santiago, Chile. They’re missionaries we support at E91, and our time with them has been inspiring to say the least. They moved to Chile thirty years ago to join another missionary couple with a lot of faith in our great God who can move mountains and do the impossible. And that’s pretty much what He’s done.
Over a span of thirty years, one church has multiplied to 32 churches, some of which have been planted in Ecuador, Peru, Iraq, and Sierra Leone. They have several schools for children at risk and a Leadership Institute for the ongoing development of indigenous church leaders and pastors.
After all, we have seen and heard from Doug, Shelly and some of the national church leaders, I asked the question, “How do you keep yourself spiritually and emotionally healthy? It seems like there’s so much “go, go, go” around here. Do you ever experience burnout?”
Shelly answered, “We did start to get out of balance, and so we brought in an expert on spiritual formation and self-care who helped us get back to a proper balance.” Wisdom is addressing a problem before it really becomes a problem.
Thomas Moore once wrote, “The fundamental principle in care of the soul is that the soul needs tending” (Care of the Soul, 276). For about 23 of my 27 years of full-time pastoral ministry, it didn’t dawn on me that my soul needed tending. Call me a slow learner. But experience is the mother teacher. When you have enough bad outcomes in life, you begin to realize maybe you need some better input.
This Sabbatical has been a vital input provider of much-needed “tending” to my soul. Just as Doug and Shelly Kallestad and their team have discovered, and just as I have learned through years of benign neglect, “go, go, go” without enough “stops” can lead to a forced stop that one would rather not take.
My advice? Look at your life. Stop long enough to see the path ahead. More of the same does not bring change. If your life, marriage, family, or ministry are charging straight ahead, make sure you’re not rushing toward a cliff.
There’s a reason cars have brakes. Properly applied, they can come in handy. Not a bad lesson for life.
“Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29).