Have you ever had a long day? The kind of day that just takes it right out of you? Several years ago, fresh out of college, I took a job teaching English in the land of Taiwan, also known as the Republic of China.
My job was to teach conversational English to grade school students throughout the day and an adult class of business people at night.
But what really got me was what happened teaching the adults one night. As I started the class, I could tell something was out of order.
My experience with Chinese students was awesome — these people are incredibly respectful to their teachers. So I was surprised as I saw some quiet whispering going on and heard a number of snickers. I tried to press on, but after a few moments, I was prompted to look down. To my horror, I discovered that my pants were unzipped. But the worst of it was that my shirt had somehow pulled out through my zipper. My face turned a deep, dark red tint and all I could do was turn around to tuck in my shirt and zip!
You might also know what it means to have a rough day. Maybe it is a hostile work environment that takes it out of you, or perhaps it is an incredibly frustrating relationship. The financial pressure of making ends meet possibly has drained you. How do you cope? How do you recharge your batteries?
I am a pastor, and as I like to say, I am in the "people business." For me, it is truly a "get to" and not a "have to" situation, but there are days that this role just takes it right out of me.
At the end of the day, once arriving at home, I often head straight for the family room, collapse into my La-Z-Boy and turn on Sports Center. It is how I cope — it is my form of "Calgon, take me away."
On a physical level, it is important to find a healthy way to regroup and replenish when we are drained, like crashing on the La-Z-Boy. But, while physical recharging has great value, the whole person must be considered. Scripture teaches us that God created us with a physical and spiritual aspect. The inner person needs to be rejuvenated as well. How do you recharge yourself on the inside?
Hebrews 10:22-25 is helpful in understanding what is needed for spiritual refreshing, "Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Notice the "let us" instructions and the "one anothers" in this passage. Refreshing the inner person is a together thing that I call synergy.
Synergy occurs when people come together with God at the center and experience power for their lives.
The writer of Hebrews instructs, "Let us draw near to God," "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess," "Let us consider how we may spur one another on," and finally, "Let us encourage one another." Spiritual renewal does not happen in isolation but comes about in the context of relationships with other believers.
It is possible that you believe you can make it on your own, but I want to urge you to receive this: we need each other. I want to encourage you to seek out relationships that can help you renew your inner person and grow your faith.
If we all did this, we would be a charged-up community!
Norm Byers is the lead pastor of Genesis Church. Please join us: 9:30 a.m. at North Central Michigan College and 11 a.m. at Boyne City Elementary. Comments and insights are welcomed on Twitter @NormByers