Is that the sound of the life being sucked out of you? Whether it’s a relationship, job, organization or church, if it’s sucking the life out of you, it’s time to take inventory.
We’ve all experienced situations that leave us lacking in enthusiasm and energy. No matter how much of ourselves we pour into it, we leave feeling deflated and less than. Sometimes we believe the notion that if we keep trying, keep giving, keep sacrificing to this thing, whatever it is, eventually it will turn around and become something else.
If you find yourself in a situation like the one I am describing, either you are going at this thing the wrong way, or it’s time to move on from it.
If I am describing a relationship you are in, that can be a bit complicated. If it’s your marriage, well, that ups the ante even more. Sometimes you cannot, and should not, walk away from a relationship. (Especially a covenant relationship like marriage.)
If your marriage is sucking the life out of you, your approach is off. Nothing is going to change there, if you don’t change your approach. Stop doing what you’ve always done. Look at ways to invest differently in the relationship to move it into a more life giving experience. Stop trying to change them. No one ever changed another person. You can only change yourself. Only the Holy Spirit can change a heart… and sister, you’re not Him.
If the relationship is not a covenant relationship, sometimes you just have to let it go. If you’ve tried pumping life into another person, only to have them suck every ounce of life you have, maybe it’s time to realize you are not the help they need.
This is hard. People matter the most. Time and again you think you’ve made headway with that person, only to find you have not. It’s hard to move on from those relationships, but the truth is, perhaps someone else can come along and do what you cannot. Sometimes you have to step aside to facilitate that.
Maybe it’s your job that’s sucking the life out of you. Once upon a time you woke up every morning, bounded out of bed, and looked forward to the day ahead. (This has never happened to me, by the way, I am not a morning person. I would like to think I will bound joyfully out of bed on the day of Jesus’ return, but I’m not sure. Maybe if he comes after about 9:30.)
Once upon a time your job gave you purpose, and joy. But now you drag out of bed as though there are weights tied to your toes. You begin dreading the workday ahead the evening before. Your boss is a tyrant, or your coworkers are not team players. You work long, hard hours, for little reward. You give, give, give, sacrificing family and your very life, and at the end of the day you are spent with nothing left to give to your family. And yet you stay.
Maybe it’s your church. Did you know that the one place on earth that should be life giving is so often the one place that often sucks the most of it out of you? Do more, give more, be more… more, more, more. So many churches exist for their own existence. If your pastor, or your lay leaders have to beg you for money for this, that, or the other thing, it’s not a life giving church. People give to what gives them life. If church leaders have to beg people to serve, serve, serve because if you don’t do it, it just won’t get done, then it’s not a life giving church. When people are allowed to serve within their God given purpose, then it’s not drudgery. They’ll do it and they’ll do it longer, better, and without prompting because it feeds their very souls. Maybe it’s time to approach church differently, or find a different church.
Most people hate change. It’s true that most of us will stay in an impossible situation because we hate change that much. The thought of something new and different is worse than the thought of staying in a familiar bad situation. We are nuts. We really are.
Jesus came to offer us eternal life, but he also came to offer us a life of abundance in the here and now. (John 10:10)
Sometimes our path takes us through some rough patches to teach us some important lessons, but sometimes we skip down those paths because we are unwilling to choose the path He marked out for us, or we go down them and set up shop rather than making our way through to the other side. Meanwhile, God is standing over on a different path waving a flag, jumping up and down saying, “Here is the way, walk in it!”, (Isaiah 30:21) and we just… won’t.
We are full of excuses. I have to do this first. I need to wait until this person does this thing. I can’t go now, I have made this commitment. But what God hears, is, “I know what’s best for me. I can’t do what you want me to do right now.”
We know what’s best. We are willing to put off for another day the life-giving journey he has marked out for us. He says, “Come now” (Check out Luke Chapter 14) but we hesitate. We tell him we just can’t. But the truth is, we can. Sometimes we have to step out in faith, not knowing what the future holds, but here’s the key. He knows… and he’s the line leader. Trade in your tired, unfulfilling life-sucking life, and enjoy the abundant life he has for you.
And do it today.