“No one ever changes until the pain level gets high enough.” -Shauna Niequest
As I drive in the car on the way home from a much needed, short vacation I read these words. I focus and hold onto every word with my being because if I’m being honest, this is me.
It’s been a tough month. We are mentally and physically exhausted, emotionally overwhemed, tired from parenting, busy as all get out, and pooped.
I’ve heard so often that church planting does a number on families and now I see it firsthand. “Burn out” is a reality. Anxiety happens. Marriages suffer. It’s happening to those around us more than we realize and this “calling” is hard.
The weight and the sacrifice of church planting is heavy. Each day is different and sometimes painful. A mist this season and the extreme fatigue that it brings forth, I feel confident that Jesus will carry us through. Just like he has in the past.
I will never forget the season of rest we had before moving to Asheville,NC. My husband was full time raising support and I would spend my quiet days thinking and dreaming about our future in Asheville.
Would our church plant succeed?
Would our neighbors like us?
Would we make friends?
Would people come to church?
Would our marriage survive change?
Would we enjoy this calling?
I still can’t answer all of these questions but what I will say that this year has felt like a big fat BLUR, but ironically a good blur.
We’ve faced the struggles of moving, dealing with disappointments, seeing people leave the team, finding friends, frustrations, set backs, physical and mental exhaustion, shifts in marriage, anxiety, and now finding a healthy rhythm in this next year of church planting.
On the other hand, we have seen first hand people experience Christ for the first time. We have seen people find a “home” through church. We have continual monthly financial support and new friendships. We have a healthy relationship with our neighbors.
We see people show up ready and willingly to serve each week. We experience “family dinner” weekly with friends where a special bond is being formed and my favorite part is we’ve seen our church grow and people’s perception of “church” and “Christianity” change.
You see a BLUR, but a good one. Out of growing pains and frustrations we’ve seen victories and memorable moments take place
The pain level is high BUT change is taking place in our hearts, in our minds, in our family, and in this city. I heard once, “Change is inevitable, but if you lean on Jesus he will take you from your yesterdays to your todays to your tomorrows.”
God allows hard seasons to shape us and bring us closer to him. He is allowing us to face trials to make us more faithful to him through every obstacle inside and outside of our home and church. Out of the exhaustion and the pain, He will prepare us for what’s ahead tomorrow and the day after.
It’s so confusing and frustrating at times. Believe it or not I miss our old life some days. I crave normalcy, but I am learning that this rhythm- this change- is our new normal. I trust Jesus and I trust his process; the process of refinement. I am all in.
Jesus will carry me through and if this is you today, the same goes for you. Hold tight, friend. Take one day at a time and choose to stay the course. Jesus will carry you through. Don’t give up on the victories because they are just around the corner.
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” Romans 5:3-4
Tell me about you. Do you find yourself tired or facing “burn out”? What is the hardest part about it? How can you lean on Jesus today?