As I mention in the “For the Church” page of this blog, as a minister I not only try to encourage hurting people but, when that hurt is caused by the church, also speak to the church in hope of seeing things change. To that end, I spend a lot of time on Twitter and I respond to a lot of comments made by Christians about trans people in particular. I know that many people read such comments and I don’t want them to think that the views these people express are the only “Christian” views on the matter. I don’t want trans people to read them and think God hates them. And I want Christians who do reject the validity of trans identities to question the “biblical” basis on which they feel justified in doing so. I therefore feel an urgency in responding to every tweet I can find.
In a word, it’s exhausting. I didn’t realize just how much so until I took a break the last couple of days. When I popped back in to check it yesterday, I had to scroll through my feed no more than a moment to find a tweet that made me sigh. Really? This is how you view the world around you? This is how you show them love? Being on Twitter can often be this constant state of anger, frustration, and sadness, and as passionate as I am about speaking for trans people, being in that state isn’t healthy for anyone.
The truth is that all of the battles I see to fight on Twitter and elsewhere aren’t necessarily mine to fight. There are others out there who fight, too. And even if no one calls out a single negative tweet that’s not the end of the world. Even after all I’ve been through in the last year I still believe that God has his ways of getting through to people when he wants to.
The urgency I too often feel can be misleading. I find it interesting to note that Jesus, who had such a relatively short time on earth to accomplish his own work, wasn’t always pressured by it. In Mark 1, for example, he has spent the day ministering in Capernaum. As we’re told in verse 33, “the whole city was gathered together at the door.” Two verses later we read that, “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.” He has, in short, gone off to take for himself. As we find out in verse 36, he’s gone long enough that his disciples notice and look for him. What I find interesting here is that despite what the passage implies about how many people need help, Jesus doesn’t seem overly concerned. His alone time has, conceivably, eaten into time he could have used to help others and when the disciples point out how many people are still around, he responds in verse 38, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.” It’s not that he doesn’t care. Rather, it’s that he knows that he needs to take care of himself, too, and he also knows when a particular job is done. His involvement in that specific area has finished. He’s under no real sense of urgency here.
So why can’t I recognize that in my own life? I don’t need to respond to every tweet that comes through my feed. And there are discussions that I don’t always need to stay in past a certain point. Staying longer, and even just getting involved when I shouldn’t, only burns me out. Besides, if Jesus can take time out of his work, surely I can take time out of mine.
Whatever you do in life can consume you if you let it. Make the time to take time for yourself. Unplug and get away for as long as you need. You’ll thank yourself for it and you’ll be better able to do what you do.