The Importance of Rest
My family and I just returned from a week long vacation in New England. We spent time with friends who feel like family in Maine. We went to the beach. We slept in. We ate good food. We laughed and talked with those we love well into the nighttime hours. It was great. It was relaxing. It recharged me.
I have been known to overwork a bit. I burn the candles at both ends (and sometimes in the middle) a lot. This can run into some serious issues for my spiritually. When I am run down my guard falls and sin becomes easier to justify. My angry inner man comes out. I get lethargic. My days in professional Christianity lead me to professional hypocrisy form time to time. If you are in ministry you may know what that is like. I think God wants us to rest.
Jesus modeled rest for us. After feeding the five thousand, surely a time of burning the candle at both ends, Jesus knew He needed to be alone and rest. Here is what the Word says about this time:
Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself. (John 6:15 ESV)
Jesus knew that he needed to recharge. We do too. I think all too often we think that if we are going about God's business He will give us supernatural energy,. I think that is true. I think when we are in the throes of ministry, God gives us power to make it through. Still, I believe He wants us to slip away and recharge from time to time to avoid burnout and sin. Our rest is important.
You may not have a situation right now that lends itself to rest but I would like to give you some ideas on how to recharge:
1. Vacation Away - I don't think there is anything better than getting away from it all. Staycations seldom work for those in ministry, If you stay people find you. Getting away and spending time with your family (or friends if you are single) is crucial to recharging.
2. Unplug - Even if you can't get away for a vacation, you can take a media fast. You can turn the cell phone off, leave the laptop at work and simply step away. This can be for one night or even a week of evenings. If you feel your life is tied down by technology, step away from time to time. The voice mails, emails, and Facebook messages will wait until you plug back in. The world can continue without being in contact with you.
3. Step Away During The Day - Take a few minutes during the day and leave your office. If it is a nice day, take a walk. If weather is bad, drive to a store you enjoy and spend a half an hour window shopping. Taking a few minutes away from the stress of the day can be key to surviving times of stress.
4. Stop For Time With God - A definite need everyday. Stay charged by reading God's Word and praying not only in preparation of the week's events but for your own growth. Don't rush this time. Make it slow and meaningful. Maybe even sing a song of worship after reading and praying. You can't stay charged if you are not plugging into the ultimate source of rest for us.
There are other ways to recharge like hobbies and sports. The important thing is that you not let Satan get a foothold in your life through your working so hard and never getting the rest you need. Even God took a break after creating the world. You will not regret taking one too.
And here are some pictures from my trip to inspire you!