There was this really beautiful moment this past year I’ll never forget. It was a moment of honesty like I’ve never witnessed in my life. Perhaps it was because, in that vast room I was standing in, we agreed to (in the words of Beth Guckenberger) be more truthful than impressive.
I was standing on stage looking out at a few thousand of my heroes at CPC, and I asked if anyone was willing to admit that there have been times when they have struggled to make spiritual practices like time in Scripture, prayer, worship, etc a regular priority in their day. Almost everyone stood.
But I took it a step further, and honestly wasn’t sure what would happen next.
I asked, “If you’re willing, would you stand again if you can make the connection that those times are also the seasons you were most burnt out, worn out, and tired of religion?”
Holding my breath, feeling my heart beating in my chest, I wondered in that moment if I would be all alone in that connection…
…but the room stood up. The entire room. You want to know what I said next?
“I love you guys.”
Not because they didn’t leave me hanging up there alone in this admission, but because we chose to be truthful about our discipleship and our leadership with one another. By standing together, we were speaking back and forth to one another that our burn out and worn out and frustrated moments are nourished by the deficit of time we spend in the presence of God.
I wonder if you would stand up today, too? Do you notice the way that lack of time in the presence of God encourages your burn out? Your moments of wondering if you can keep doing this? Your struggle to get out of bed? Your fatigue and lack of focus?
One thing I’m learning is a horribly effective strategy of the enemy to weaken our effectiveness as leaders and disciples is to distract us from being with Jesus. It’s not hard to get distracted, right?
- I want to spend time in Scripture, but the kids got up early, too…
- I want to spend time in prayer, but my phone won’t stop buzzing…
- I want to worship, but what if my heart isn’t in it? Second-guessing is a good distraction…
- I want to sabbath, but there’s so much that needs to get done…
The distractions are often ‘benign’…even wrapped up in a costume of ‘nobility’… but oh, sister and brother, the cost of distraction is to not gaze into the wonder of the gospel and let it overwhelm us again and again. The cost of distraction is to miss exploring the depths and the goodness of the love of the friend we have in Jesus.
The cost of distraction is our soul.
Friend, I’ll never forget standing with that room of leaders when we admitted what was true: when we aren’t practicing the way of Jesus and treasuring the space we make for our relationship with God, we won’t be able to run the race very long.
But one thing I know is true of that room and of you- we want to be long-haul leaders. We want to finish the race.
Let’s choose to set aside distractions and make space for Him. Relish His Words today, converse with Him today, adore Him today, and speak truth to the distractions of the enemy… They’re not worthy. Only Jesus.