High-octane women

High_octane_women

Ever heard of “high-octane women”? No, neither had I until I read this article on female burnout on the Psychology Today website. There Dr Sherrie Bourg Carter, author of High Octane Women gives some warning signs; signs that also apply to high-octane men.

  • Physical signs: chest pain, stomach pain, sleep problems, frequent headaches, chronic fatigue.
  • Psychological signs: activities you once enjoyed aren’t enjoyable anymore, excessive anxiety, inability to concentrate, pessimism, hopelessness, frustration, anger.
  • Behavioral signs: skipping meals, drop in productivity, long work hours yet several incomplete projects, eating alone, being a poor team player.

She also wrote a helpful follow-up on re-fueling and basic ongoing maintenance. You can skip the yoga!

These articles help answer the “what” and the “when” questions: what to do and when to do it. They help high-octane types re-arrange and re-schedule their lives in a wiser way. But for deeper change we have to go further and ask both high-octane men and women the “who“, “why,” and “how” questions

1. Who?
Who are you doing all this work for? Is it to please your husband or wife? Is it to impress your boss? Is it to keep up with your colleagues? Is it to prove your manhood to businessmen in your congregation? Who is the first person you think of when you think of your home-making? When was the last time you thought of the Lord at the beginning and end of your work? And what view of the Lord do you have? Do you think of Him as a hard-hearted and ruthless tycoon, or as a loving heavenly Father who wants to encourage and comfort His tired children? Who is the Lord to you?

2. Why? 
Why are you doing this? What motivates you to live like this? What drives you into such a run-down state?

“Well, it’s my calling? It’s my ministry. I’m serving the Lord in my home/work/congregation.”

If so, good and well. But remember, it’s possible to sin by doing too much good! Yes, we can sin by doing too little good. But we can also sin in doing good; by living beyond our God-given limitations for too long a period of time. The Shorter Catechism reminds us that the sixth commandment “requires all lawful endeavors to preserve our own life” (Q.68).

3. How?
How do you serve God in your work and calling? Do you do it in your own strength? Are you living off your own fuel, energy, drive, and determination? Are you high-octane or Holy Spirit-empowered? Do you depend on your little fuel tank, or on the unlimited resources of God’s Spirit?

Usually, if we answer the “who,” “why,” and “how” questions, it becomes much easier to answer the “what,” and “when” questions.


Forgive my prayers

My prayers are prayerless and faithless;
My prayers are old and cold;
My prayers are repetitive and ineffective;
My prayers are acted and distracted.

My prayers are accurate but not appropriate;
My prayers are regular but not spontaneous;
My prayers are short but not sweet;
And, praise God, my prayers are forgiven but not forgotten.


Less Gospel, more Christ please

“David, how is Shona?”

“Oh, the marriage is great. It goes from strength to strength. It enriches, edifies, and encourages me no end. I’m just so humbled by it. I feel so privileged.”

“And Shona?”

“I tell everyone that being married is so amazing. I don’t know why more don’t try it. I suppose you have to experience it to really know.”

“Yes, David, but how about Shona?”

“Well, I’ve written a book about false marriages. And I have a few conferences ahead where I hope to speak on marriage-centered homes and churches. O yes, I just love marriage.”

“Eh, is Shona still alive?”

Too much Gospel, not enough Christ?

I’m concerned. I’m hearing and reading the word “Gospel” at least ten times more than the name of Christ.

Let me give you a sample of the kind of phraseology that is beginning to worry me. This is just a selection from recent reading: “the finished work of the Gospel,” “marinated in the Gospel,” “the Gospel of justification,” “the grace of the Gospel,” “promoting the Gospel,” “the Gospel-centered life/marriage/home,” “contemplation of the Gospel,” “the church that loves the Gospel,” “the Gospel for Christians,” “talk to non-Christians about the Gospel,” “preach the Gospel message,” “I love the Gospel,” “the Gospel of grace,” “enjoying the Gospel,” “a radical Gospel,” “give them the Gospel,” “empowered by the Gospel.” I could go on and on.

“Well, what’s wrong with these words?”

These are indeed wonderful words. They all come from the pens and mouths of good men and women who love the Lord. But they appear in almost Christ-less contexts. For all the talk of the Gospel, there is often little or no mention of Christ.

I’m sure that writers and speakers are often thinking of Christ when they use these phrases. But why not use Christ’s name? That’s what worries me. Is the name and person of Christ being replaced by a soteriology?

I’m not sure why this is happening. I know it’s not intentional. Could it be a bit of embarrassment? Are we more comfortable speaking about loving the Gospel than about loving Jesus? Are we more comfortable commending the Gospel than pressing Christ on our hearers?

But surely that’s what we are all about – we’re about the Christ of the Gospel (or the Gospel of Christ.) And it’s Christ I want preachers and writers to give me. I want to meet Jesus and walk away with Jesus.

So, the next time you are tempted to say or write “Gospel,” may I suggest that you consider using the name of Jesus Christ instead, at least sometimes. Try to redress the present imbalance.

I’m challenging myself here as well. I know from experience that it’s fearfully possible to preach a soteriology but not the Savior; to preach a set of principles, but not a person. The Devil is able to take one of the best words in the world (“Gospel”) and use it to obscure, or even replace, the very best person in the world.

Let’s not have people leaving our churches, articles, blogs, and conferences wondering, “Eh, is Jesus still alive?”


Children’s Bible Reading Plan (18)

Some were finding the double-column landscape layout a bit difficult to print double-sided. So change of format to portrait and single column. Morning and Evening notes here. Single use notes here. For previous notes, click Bible reading tag below.