One of the best days of your life is the day you take full responsibility for your own life and health. I can’t tell you how many times I played the “victim card”. Or, I would lie to myself with statements like “it will get better” or “this is just for a season” or “once we get through this building campaign”.Living in denial caused such stress in our marriage that my wife Connie would stop me in mid-sentence. When I would be justifying my out-of-control schedule she would say “Just stop. There will always be something else. It never gets better.” She was right. One thing I do know from 30 years of experience in ministry is that ministry will take whatever you give it. The job is never done and there is always more to do. I still struggle with this issue but there is a great passage in Deuteronomy 30 that has really helped me.
As the chapter opens, Moses is describing the life of blessing that awaits the people of Israel. Moses declares that if they would turn to God and follow him that they would enjoy prosperity and blessing from the hand of God.
Then, he calls on them to take personal responsibility. He says:
Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. 12 It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 13 Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 14 No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it. (Deut. 30:11-14)
It is “not too difficult for you” and “it is not beyond your reach.” Then, I love his words “the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart”.
The life of blessing is mine for the taking. The life of emotional and spiritual health is within grasp. But, first, I have to “own it” for myself. Nobody is going to do it for you. No good-intention deacon or elder or close friend can protect you from yourself if you choose to lead an unhealthy life.
What I have come to embrace is that no one is holding a gun to my head.