Alece Ronzino: I’m Exhaustulated

AleceMeet Alece.

She’s real. She’s raw. She’s AH-MAZ-ING!

Alece’s story humbles me.  Her mission inspires me.  The example her life exudes pushes me to be more gracious, loving and prayerful towards others… even the ones who are not kind to me.

Thank you, Alece, for revealing your heart here today.  I’m so humbled to call you “friend”.

—————————————————————

I was reading along in Isaiah when I tripped over this phrase“You have not wearied yourselves for Me, O Israel.” I brushed off my knees and copped a squat right there. I knew exactly what God was talking about. And I knew I was just as guilty as Israel was.

After over eleven years in full-time ministry, I know full-well what it’s like to weary myself. I’ve put in the ridiculously long hours. I’ve juggled an impossible schedule. I’ve reached the point of burnout and lived to tell about it.

And as I fall in bed exhausted at the end of a long day week month year decade, my heart sighs, “I’m weary…”

If I listen closely enough, I hear God’s voice, ever loving and gentle. “But you haven’t wearied yourself for Me.”

Without even realizing it, I’ve been wearing my exhaustion like a badge of honor. My demanding schedule and ever-growing to do lists became my identity. As if fatigue is the mark of an accomplished missionary.

If I’m most honest, I wearied myself because I thought my value lay in my productivity. I mistook accomplishments for significance. I bought into the lie that busyness is the telltale sign of successful leadership.

But while I was getting stuff done, and even—by God’s grace—impacting lives, I was ultimately toiling for the wrong reasons.

The work of discipling young leaders in Africa is worth every ounce of my effort and energy. I want to tire myself out doing what I love. But I need to keep the motives of my heart in check. Wearying myself for some self-serving purpose is just plain tiring.

I want to weary myself for Him.

Then and only then am I strengthened.

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What do you weary yourself over?

37 Responses to “Alece Ronzino: I’m Exhaustulated”

  1. Brian November 13, 2009 at 7:49 am #

    So true and easy to relate with Alece. I think a lot of men get caught in the lie of “I’m working xtra hours so I can provide the best life for my family”. While there is nothing wrong with hard work and seeking to provide, often times our families just need more of us! Not physical presence only but access to our souls and our emotions. Like you said, check your motives frequently to see what or who you are really working for.

    • alece November 13, 2009 at 5:18 pm #

      i think we deceive ourselves more often than we’d like to admit. we say things like “we’re doing this for our family” or “i’m serving the Lord”… but if we stop long enough to look internally and ask “am i being completely honest with myself?” we may come up with a convicting response.

      i did anyway.

  2. mandythompson November 13, 2009 at 8:35 am #

    oh wow. Wow, Alece. Wow.

    • Nathan November 13, 2009 at 11:50 am #

      ditto.

  3. Heidi November 13, 2009 at 9:36 am #

    I should not have been surprised that my fierce friend would knock it out of the ballpark.

    But these words

    “I mistook accomplishments for significance”

    O’ how’d I yearned to be significant in my accomplishements. When God already said “well done”. I would keep trying and spinning my wheels for me instead of His glory.

    Wow what a powerful post to chew on. Thank you again for kicking me in the buttocks again friend.

    • alece November 13, 2009 at 5:20 pm #

      you are so right. and it makes me think of Jesus’ baptism… the dove came down and the booming voice from heaven: “this is My Son in whom i am well pleased.” and Jesus hadn’t even started His ministry yet. there’d been no miracles, no dead people raised back to life, no powerful teachings. He simply was God’s Son, and that was enough to make the father-heart of God proud.

      same applies to you and me.

      yet i so often feel like have to DO something or BE something in order to be significant and valued.

      i’m learning.

  4. tammit November 13, 2009 at 9:37 am #

    “But you haven’t wearied yourself for Me.”

    you could/should travel around and preach this to leaders, no…everyone, everywhere.

    im with mandy. wow. wow.

    • joy renée November 13, 2009 at 11:45 am #

      i am in total agreement. this is a message that ANY minister ANYWHERE would find convicting, admonishing, encouraging, challenging…

    • alece November 13, 2009 at 5:23 pm #

      when jenni asked me to write here, i knew i wanted it to be something applicable for, well, everyone, but specifically for those in ministry (in any capacity) because of her readership. with everything i have going on right now, i told her it’d probably be a few weeks before i had time to focus long enough to write something like that. but the other night this just started pouring out of me, and i knew it was a message that God wanted leaders to hear. and that it was perfect for my guest post here at jenni’s.

  5. Crystal Renaud November 13, 2009 at 9:43 am #

    thank you for this!

  6. jenni November 13, 2009 at 11:15 am #

    Alece – you bless me with your words. You are QUITE amazing, friend. Thank you for the honor of hosting you here today.

    • alece November 13, 2009 at 5:24 pm #

      thank YOU for setting up the playdate. i count it an honor!

      and i’m grateful for our wonderful new friendship.

      • jenni November 17, 2009 at 12:11 am #

        look how awesome you are! you’re still getting comments.

        love you, friend!

  7. Nathan November 13, 2009 at 11:54 am #

    FYI The link for “discipling young leaders in Africa” which is suppose to link over to Thrive Africa is not working. Just thought I would let you know! :)

  8. Amanda November 13, 2009 at 11:54 am #

    I just found your blog recently, so when you said you were posting here I popped over.
    Convicted, party of one.
    Wow.
    I was just talking to a friend last night about how busy and exhausted I was…but for what purpose?

    • alece November 13, 2009 at 5:28 pm #

      thanks, amanda. and you know? i’m still convicted by this. it’s gonna take me a while to put feet on this truth in my life.

  9. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect November 13, 2009 at 11:54 am #

    Alece, as usual, your words ring true and pierce deep. Thank you for being open with us – and open to God.

    I especially like what you said about wearing your busy-ness as a badge of honor. Why do we do that?! “You think you’re busy, huh? Well, listen to all I have on MY plate!” Like it’s a competition!

    Craziness. And just plain NOT what God has called us to. Thank you for that reminder today!

    Good word.

    • alece November 13, 2009 at 5:30 pm #

      i, too, have been caught up in that busyness competition. and while i never really THOUGHT that made me a better missionary, i spoke like it did. i lived like it did.

      blech.

      i’ve been captured by the word “selah” in the psalms. it signifies a pause to reflect on the words spoken just before it.

      my soul is in need of a selah.

  10. brandolynicole November 13, 2009 at 11:58 am #

    This post could so easily be written from a mom’s perspective. I instantly saw my life in this because the feelings are the same.

    “And as I fall in bed exhausted at the end of a long day week month year decade, my heart sighs, “I’m weary…” If I listen closely enough, I hear God’s voice, ever loving and gentle. “But you haven’t wearied yourself for Me.” ” Every night after an exhausting day running in circles.

    Without even realizing it, I’ve been wearing my exhaustion like a badge of honor. My demanding schedule and ever-growing to do lists became my identity. As if fatigue is the mark of an accomplished missionary. Take out missionary and insert “mom.”

    If I’m most honest, I wearied myself because I thought my value lay in my productivity. I mistook accomplishments for significance. I bought into the lie that busyness is the telltale sign of… for me it’s “being a good mom/wife/leader.”

    There are times in a day where I’m physically shaken at the thought that I have not put the energy into HIM because I’m so busy putting my energy into THEM. THEM being my kids, my husband, my friends, my friends kids, my volunteer obligations. But not HIM.

    THis is convicting friend. And I so love you.

    • alece November 13, 2009 at 5:31 pm #

      i loved hearing your thoughts on this, raisin brain. you’re right – it applies to all of us, not just those in ministry. it all boils down to the motives and intentions of our heart. which applies to every area of our lives.

      my toes hurt.

  11. Bethany Linn November 13, 2009 at 1:01 pm #

    Alece I have spent the last almost 3 hours lost at your blog thanks to this post. I wouldn’t trade a second of it.
    Thanks for your words that convinct and comfort me at exactly the same time

    Bethany

    • alece November 13, 2009 at 5:33 pm #

      wow! thank you for giving me those 3 hours today! and i so appreciate your encouragement. “convict and comfort” sounds like the work of the Holy Spirit… i’m so grateful He spoke to you through my posts.

  12. Lisa November 13, 2009 at 5:52 pm #

    I think your willingness to be so transparent makes people feel less alone, Alece.

    • alece November 24, 2009 at 3:07 pm #

      i so hope for that…

  13. Makeda November 13, 2009 at 6:03 pm #

    Thank you for sharing. I am also guilty at times of wearing my exhaustion as a badge of honor as if God is impressed by my busyness. Thank you for the convicting reminder that unless HE builds the house, all my labor is in vain. Thanks again for sharing

    • alece November 24, 2009 at 3:08 pm #

      that verse—”unless the Lord builds the house, the laborers labor in vain”—has been wrecking my heart a lot lately. for some complex different reasons. but it all boils down to this: it doesn’t say that if He’s not in it, it doesn’t get built. oh it can get built. it can look/feel/smell/seem like a success. but it was all in vain.

      i don’t want to build in vain…

  14. Cristi November 13, 2009 at 8:47 pm #

    I, like so many of you, completely relate to this. I throw 110% of myself into what I do, drive myself to exhaustion and my weariness becomes a tool for alienating myself. So many thoughts have started with the bitter words: “They have no idea what it’s like…” God doesn’t need our false sense of accomplishment. Only our humble hearts. I got the wake up call when He reminded me that life is about THEM, not at all about me.

    • alece November 24, 2009 at 3:09 pm #

      i’ve been so guilty of the “they have no idea” train of thoughts… so appreciate the reminder to stop those in their tracks.

  15. Mercedes November 14, 2009 at 10:15 am #

    Yeap! Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

    Unfortunately, I need to keep being reminded of it often, so thanks for bringing it to the forefront of my mind today.

    May the Lord bless you and keep you.

    Mercedes

    • alece November 24, 2009 at 3:10 pm #

      i, too, need frequent reminders of this. because like most things, it’s simple but not easy… and i so quickly slip back into old habits and thought patterns.

  16. danielle hodgson November 14, 2009 at 8:35 pm #

    Wow Friend -

    Such truth. I’ve been aware of this in my class and with this conference. I’m busy, I’m working…but why? For who? I had to continually remind myself that it’s all for Jesus, not for missions, or myself, or the church. It’s all for Jesus. I hope that my heart lined up.

    • alece November 24, 2009 at 3:11 pm #

      being aware of it is what it’s all about, i think. that’s what keeps our hearts sensitive and aligned with the right perspective. too often i lose my awareness in the busyness… working on holding onto that more tightly.

  17. David November 15, 2009 at 11:37 pm #

    Adding my agreement – everyone who leads, thinks they want to, is led – everyone should hear and understand what this is really saying!

    Thank you so much Alece. I’ve been wrestling with this for a long long time, Diane and I talk about it lots – both re us and also re our friends.

    Your post and the comments from others are a valuable resource as we move towards what God wants us to do, not what we want to do for God…or anyone else for that matter.

    • alece November 24, 2009 at 3:12 pm #

      i know my heart still needs to let this truth sink in deeper. and it’s a message i’ll need to be reminded of fairly often.

  18. Amy November 16, 2009 at 1:23 pm #

    Hi Jenni- nice to “meet” you… thanks for hosting Alece today.

    Kitty… I’m chewing on this: “I mistook accomplishments for significance. I bought into the lie that busyness is the telltale sign of successful leadership.” …and I’m thanking God for the journey He has taken your heart on.

    • alece November 24, 2009 at 3:13 pm #

      it is a journey for sure… some days i like the view a whole lot better than others.

      love you, kitty.

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