Thursday, April 21, 2005

Now for Sami’s Ramblings about Jesus:

A few weeks ago I worked a DiscipleNow weekend with a wonderful woman that I had just met for the first time. In the course of the weekend, she shared with me some things that the Lord laid on her heart to tell me after hearing how ultra-stressed I was feeling. Her humor-filled, loving, yet very pointed words really helped me to see how I needed to make some drastic changes if I expected to not just survive being a mommy, a wife, and a campus minister, but to thrive. She even enlisted the help of my very own students in holding me accountable to the things the Lord was asking me to do. And yes they have kept asking me if I have “done the things on my list.”

Now I’m not saying I’ve made all the changes God was asking me to make perfectly, but I have begun to make some significant changes in my life that have made a HUGE difference. Now this isn’t rocket science; these changes are simple things that need to be done to keep my body, mind, and spirit (in other words God’s temple) in good shape. I’ve begun exercising, making sure I have some daily quiet time with Jesus, drinking more water, and making sure I take time to be with my husband Tim and little boy Noah. Again, I’m not doing these things perfectly, but just the efforts that I have made have made a difference. My back doesn’t hurt anymore, I am less stressed, and I am generally happier.

It is amazing to me how in the business of life things can get so hugely crazy that the basic, “be a healthy person” things get completely edged out. It was like before I got hit in the head with the Jesus skillet I had forgotten that I had a life outside of my work. I really had thought that the sum total of my existence existed for the purpose of doing ministry. I had forgotten that there really was a person inside me who needed to live too.

I say all of this to encourage all of you who are so stressed out because of crunch time and impending finals. By all means, do the best you can, faithfully study, complete your work, but know this: Life exists beyond deadlines and final grades. First and foremost, you are a child of God. And God has plans for your life that are bigger than the next two weeks. In the midst of crunch time it is way too easy to abuse and misuse your body because there seems to be no time to take care of it. It is like everything else seems more important. This is the trap that I fell into. And not only did I suffer for it, I really believe my work suffered too. What I am learning, by the grace of God, is that honoring the temple God gave me (i.e. being nice to my body by giving it rest, food, water, and exercise), and finding balance between the ministry I’m called to while also being a regular person has made everything else better.

When I say Jesus loves you, I mean Jesus loves you, all of you, every last bit of you. It is not Jesus’ idea that you must sacrifice your well-being on the altar of perfection. Do your best. But don’t let it come at the price of your health and well-being. Take time in these next two weeks to eat a real meal at least once a day, to have several good belly laughs, to take a walk in the beautiful sunshine that is not on the way to class, to drink enough water so that you are refreshed, and to get plenty of rest when you need it. I promise that if you will make a good faith effort to do these things, then you will do better in your studying and test taking and project finishing because you will be giving from your full resources instead of from emptiness.

Gosh, if I could make it better for each of you I would. Just know that you can do it. Jesus is with you and will never leave nor forsake you. His promises are just as real during finals week as they are any other time of the year.

So just hang in there. And know that you are not alone.

Jesus loves you and so do I.


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