Okay, well it’s been quite some time since I last blogged, but I thought it might cause me to be inspired to do more creative writing. Seeing as I’ve got brain lock right now, perhaps it’s actually a much needed exercise. Or it could be that I just don’t do all that well at nearly midnight unless caffeinated.
I found myself very confused this evening after watching Walk the Line when I realised that our neighbours The Electric Ballroom was playing music. With the new year celebrations, Christmas, and just falling out of a very newly implemented schedule, I can’t believe that it’s Friday night. It seems almost like an endless cycle of Friday nights lately- like are we stuck in Groundhog Day or something?! It came as a bit of a shock when mentally I was prepared to finish the film, go lie in bed with my new book Valley of the Dolls, and drift off to sleep around 11:30pm-12:00 so that I could wake up and get some work done in the morning. But alas, Ballroomage taken into consideration I’ve had to whip my brain into the realisation that sleep will be fleeting for another 3-4 hours when the party-goers depart or are kicked out.
This new year and the ending of 08 has been interesting to say the least. I’ve been really struggling with what it is I’m meant to be doing. I mean, working as a minister in London, starting up projects and pressing on in relationships with the goal of demonstrating Christ’s love has changed my mindset a lot. Like somewhat in a bad way. Boundaries have become very blurred, work has sort of taken over my mind. I realise and firmly believe that being a follower of Christ is a lifestyle, not something you work at for 40 hours per week, and therefore being a ’self-employed’ minister, setting my own schedule, coming up with plans on my own, etc is something that becomes difficult to separate from day-to-day living. Like knitting for example. I have wanted to start a craft group for some time, but my automatic response to setting something up is to do it not only to create but to build relationships with like-minded people who just happen to quite probably need Jesus in their lives. Therefore craft group leads to bible study leads to church leads to salvation and a merit for the missionary girl. But why. Why can’t I just knit.
This has come with the simultaneous realisation that time off is important. Yes, that’s right we come back to what God said in the 10 commandments and throughout the Bible about taking a Sabbath. Always growing up to believe it was some sort of vacation from reality to be at church, this thinking doesn’t really help a minister’s lifestyle. Yes, ministers themselves need days off. Of course we all nod our heads in agreement, but when you’re working out your own schedule, dealing with money people have given you to support yourself and your ministry work, you want to squeeze the most out of every last minute. Not helpful. God commanded the Israelites to take one whole entire day off without even thinking about work. Now, most ministers have what we call ‘ministry mondays’ which ironically means time away from ministry. God knows what would happen to the world if we all actually took Mondays off, but alas my Rob and I decided to do so for my mental and physical well being (and that of everyone around us, fearing that I would eventually go postal on them). Mondays follow Sundays if you haven’t noticed, and that means small things like taking an offering to the bank for deposit.
That first Monday was hell at first. I waged conscious warfare with the thoughts of work and ministry and ‘just this one little thing’ until a request to go to the bank and deposit like £5 sent me over the edge. I couldn’t find the paying in book. My heart raced. My head began to welcome in like quick sand all the thoughts of what else needed doing. It was like being sucked into a hole until I said NO I will not go to the bank, it will have to wait til tomorrow. And then birds sang quietly in the background again.
See, when you’re working for yourself or setting your own work schedule, how easy is it to just do one little thing? And in the Old Testament times, most people either were self employed or worked for a family run business. The whole sabbath issue is a justice and humanitarian issue. God was concerned because he knew we’re workaholics (when we’re not lazy as hell) and we just won’t take the time off if we let one little bit of work in.
Now that being said Jesus did say to the religious ultra serious Pharisees that if a guy owned a mule and saw it stuck in the mud on the sabbath he’d be an idiot not to rescue it. So yeah, keep it in perspective, but also have some healthy boundaries. Do yourself some good. So yeah, Mondays are days off now. And knitting is for me. Thank God if I do- and I really hope to- make some friends (I need them) and eventually be a good example of God to them. But for now… I’ll just purl, drink coffee, and eat cake.