Monday, June 14, 2010

My Tractor Don't Get No Traction...

When I was a kid, this was a lyric to a popular country song by Patty Loveless. The lyrics go something like this:

I can't get no consolation
I don't get no paid vacation
I can't get no satisfaction
And my tractor don't get no traction
Just doin' the best I can
Tryin' to make a stand
Laughin' and cryin'
Livin' and dyin' on down the line

Wow, as I look at these again I think how true. Have you ever been at that point where no matter what someone says or how many days off you take you still feel like your spinning your wheels? That certainly happens when I look at the state of my house. I sweep the floor and someone immediately tracks in. I do the dishes only to see a new pile the next morning. It never ends. But I've learned to deal with this in my domestic affairs.

What about our spiritual life? Have you ever come to the point where you feel like you can't even hear the right answer from God anymore? You are doing lots of "stuff" for the kingdom you think but it isn't really getting you anywhere; you've lost traction. You don't see the fruit from it.

I'm not saying I'm at a point like this in my life right now, but I've definitely been in this place. More than that, I've seen friends and church family there too. Struggling. Spinning their wheels.

So how did this random thought come about you might ask? Well, I've been reading a new book. I know. Me, read? Sounds incredible but it is happening. I stumbled across a blog by Anne Jackson ( and she had some interesting things to say. She is a preacher's kid and a worker in the kingdom. She has written a book called, "Mad Church Disease." It focuses on overcoming the burnout epidemic we see often in churches and volunteers. Now don't everyone assume I'm burnt-out and this is my cry for help. I'm really in a good place myself right now, but I won't say I haven't probably been close before and I definitely know I've seen symptoms of it in others around me.

In Anne's book, she shares excerpts of interviews with pastors who have faced and recovered from burn-out. One of the pastors made this statement in his comments about how his life has changed since burn-out. "I run my life a bit more slowly these days, but I do it with far more traction." This spoke to me - I might be doing a little less, but I'm bearing much more fruit. What a concept! Seek out the things that are being laid on us by the Holy Ghost and cast the other things aside and it is a win-win. We find a more manageable pace and actually probably accomplish more for the kingdom in our doing.

I've heard the definition of insanity is repeating the same event and expecting a different outcome. Not much different would be thinking when we've already lost traction, that spinning our wheels faster would help. Sometimes we think doing more of the wrong thing will make it right because, man, we are really committed to sacrificing more and more so our wheels can spin faster and faster. What if we just sought Jesus. Worked at the things He's laid before us and promised to equip us for. Got some traction.

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