Pressing the Reset Button
Aug 12, 2018 06:10AM
By Bonnie Lyn Smith
In Nintendo’s Animal Crossing video game, there is a character named “Resetti.” He was and continues to be a common name in my house. I have three children: 18, 15, and 12 years old. Suffice it to say that Resetti has been one of our peeps for almost a decade.
Read Resetti’s job description, according to animalcrossing.wikia.com:
Resetti (リセットさん, Risetto san, Mr. Reset), also known as Mr. Resetti, is a very cranky mole that appears in all the Animal Crossing series games. His job is to make sure that all players save continuously throughout gameplay.
My game-playing children might not have caught this nuance, but I love that Resetti is cranky.
Because when we hit a wall and need to reset, we often get cranky, don’t we?
I reached massive burnout as summer approached this year. It wasn’t one particular responsibility or situation. It was the seven-course meal of graduating a child, navigating the special needs of another, managing one with ongoing health issues, several rounds of company for whom I wanted to be my best self (and I am very grateful they came), work deadlines that dragged into a very busy June, traveling husband, and ministry stress.
Say what now? Can a true Christian really say that last part? Can we really complain about doing God’s work? You can get burned out on ministry?
Um, yes, yes, you can.
I absolutely love the ministry roles I take on. I wouldn’t have them any other way for the time being. My husband and I adore the junior high Sunday School students we teach, I love running a small support group for parents of children with special needs and mental health concerns, and the one-on-one women’s ministry I do is also a joy. But the summer off from all of those was sorely needed. Not because they were super-draining each by themselves, but because I fell into a season of needing to receive.
Wait, is that okay? We can take a season to receive?
It’s not bad to set up a fence for a while and say: “I just can’t right now. I’m dragging in several directions and can’t seem to do one piece well. I need to close the shutters. Narrow my focus.”
What often happens is surprising. It’s a mixture of responses: people stepping up to love on us and feed us during our fatigue and spiritual famine and others who struggle to understand why we have to let go right now. But that is okay. I have trouble understanding that in others sometimes, especially when I really depend on them. Being honest is the best we can offer. It’s the greatest way to love people.
At times, I have had to say: “On a good day, I don’t manage phone calling well, but right now, I can’t be returning many calls at all other than clients. I’m so sorry. I’m just ridiculously spent. I need to refuel. It will get better, but it’s not better right now.”
I want to be clear about something: This is not me whining. We all have seasons where we need rest. Like many people, I'm sure, a few situations crept up on me this spring when I heard God’s gentle-but-firm leading:
“Bonnie, step down, take care of your family, and REST.”
Why do Christians find that to be a hard concept? Because we are raised to “do good” at every turn, to be ready to bring “the gospel of peace,” and to be the “hands and feet of Jesus.”
Those are all important. Certainly, Martha, friend of Jesus and sister of Mary and Lazarus, thought so.
Luke 10:38-42, ESV
Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me." But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her."
But do you see what Mary is doing? She is sitting at the feet of Jesus taking Him in, delighting in His presence.
We should all do that frequently as a matter of spiritual discipline, in the sense of prayer, worship, and Bible reading.
But we also should build that in when our red flags go up and tell us we are running dry. See, God made us a well that is eternal. His life fountain ever-present. We have the resource. We simply need to avail ourselves of it.
John 4:13-14, ESV
Jesus said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
So, yes, Martha’s “doing” was appropriate service. But Mary’s “being still” was pressing her personal reset button—before she became a cranky mole like Resetti (or Martha, for that matter!).
This summer we camped in our old travel trailer every chance we had. One of my children needed rest, restoration, extra care, and family nurturing. There was nothing more important than that.
Dear God, may I always have the good sense to put down whatever else I am doing to hear You tell me to stop and listen. To go in a different direction for a while.
I put contracts off until September. I cleared the schedule of unnecessary extra-curriculars. I packed games, fun food, good books, and two fuzzy Shih Tzus (who may as well be five years of therapy copays so far in how much money they have saved us with their unconditional love). I listened to the voice that told me to stop.
But I want you to know something: This spring, I didn’t pay attention soon enough. I grew grumpy, pessimistic, and snappy. By the time I found peace, there was some serious God clean-up to do in my heart.
Psalm 51:10-12, ESV
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.
So, the transparency I offer is to help you find that quiet reset sooner. What fills you up and reminds that you that God is in charge and can be trusted?
If you are headed toward a cynical and/or weary posture, what can you put down to partake more of God’s refilling? To drink from the waters and always be full?
We forget where that water and the rest are, don’t we? But they are always there for the believer in Christ. It's as simple as "Come to Me." Blessed be the name of the LORD.
Matthew 11:28-30, ESV
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
Author Bonnie Lyn Smith writes about mental health advocacy, special education, faith in the valleys of life, drawing healthy boundaries, relational healing, renewing our minds, walking with a Holy God, and much ado about grace. Join the conversation at Espressos of Faith.
She is the author of Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day and the founder and editor-in-chief of Ground Truth Press, a book publishing company.