Monday, October 31, 2011

The Need for Breaks From This Field

by Mike Chapman

A friend of mine phoned me yesterday and we had an interesting conversation. It centered around the idea of the need to take occasional breaks from paranormal investigating and in his and my case, demonology. Occasionally, those of us who are extremely busy with cases and handling clients who are disturbed by activity (and sometimes that activity is due to demonic, evil spirits) get so caught up in the flow of the case that we become what pilots often call "target focused." Combat pilots have become so fixated on their targets that they have sometimes flown right into the target rather than releasing their bombs and moving away to safety after the release. They don't release the bomb and take evasive action. It has happened enough in the past that aviators have a term for it: target fixation. Those of us in this field, especially leaders, can get like that sometimes, over-focused and over-fixated on "the work" (as it is often called)...on cases, the team, the people, the needs, the wants, etc. Make no mistake, there is always someone asking for help, another family who is having problems, another phone call or trip that you need to make. Then too, is the fact that we have other priorities in our lives that we may be neglecting, such as our own spouses, our children, friends, Church, or our work - which provides our income and support for our families.

So what do you do? It isn't easy to make a client wait or tell someone I can't help you right now, but sometimes it has to be done. My friend who phoned me is close to exhaustion, and I have been there too. It is an exhaustion on several levels: physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, relational, and volitional. The tank - or cup - is empty. I remember when I was a missionary in Russia, in Moscow, just after the fall of communism. When I traveled through the subway tunnels, the poor and destitute would stand in long lines with their hands out begging for money. One had to walk this gauntlet every day just to get on and off the subway trains. It was tough, but there was simply no way to put money in every hand. It wasn't as if I had an abundance of money myself. This was 1993 and 1994, and my salary was a whopping three hundred dollars a month. The sad truth is, you can't meet the need by yourself.

This is why it is critical to understand the principal of giving out of the overflow.

We human beings are receptacles of God's grace and mercy as He works in our lives. He fills up our lives, our cups if you will, with His presence and His grace. That presence and grace, and its attendant mercies, is what gives us the "stuff" with which to give to others. We pass that on much like a conduit or mirror, by and through which God is reflected and poured out to and onto others. The important thing to understand is that we are not static, fixed individuals but live dynamically in an ever-changing world with ever-changing circumstances. We are always changing in our conditions and states of existence. Our emotional flow, mood, attitude, strength, physical well being, relationship health with people in our families, our workmates, our extended family, our friends, our spiritual always shifting and changing. I could go on and on about how we are in a constant state of flux in both our inner and outer being. So it is with God's grace and presence within us. As we receive, we are to give out of that flow. The analogy would be that as God fills up our cup (our life) we are most effective when we minister and give to others out of the overflow.

When we give and give at a rate that is faster than what we take in or allow God to give to us, we empty out. Soon we are simply giving out of ourselves and frustration, burnout and depression can set in. That is when we must realize we have gone too far, and we must pause the giving and get back to receiving. Notice I didn't say stop the giving, just pause it. We must take the time necessary (and sometimes that can be quite a while) to fill the cup up to where it is overflowing and we can start giving again. Christ Himself often went away to the wilderness to get away from the crowds and the people and yes, to get away from meeting the needs. Why? Because He needed to be refilled by the Father. Any careful reading of the Gospels will reveal that He did this often and regularly. If Christ was God, then how much more do we need such a practice in our own lives? As team members and teammates, we need to give permission and encouragement to one another as this arises, as we "withdraw for a season" to take breaks away from the team and away from giving. Many good things happen when we do that...we get refilled, and others have the opportunity to step up - including the clients themselves. My good and very giving friend said on the phone to me yesterday that he was going to "take a break" from all of his investigating and demonology efforts for a bit.

With the above in mind, I think his is a very wise choice.

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