Rest seems like a four letter word these days. There is never enough time for it, we are afraid we will fall behind, or the phone rings. Well, God said it- on the seventh day- REST!
We all know that day seven is rarely the day we will actually be able to stop and rest. Regardless, God intended for us to rest so that we are able to give. One of my most challenging verses that has now become my life verse is, “Be still and know that I am God.” I know God is in control. I know that He created everything. I know that He loves me, so I know that I should obey God’s word. But, “be still” really? That is a challenge! But that is exactly what God wants for each of us – be still and REST.
I know we “doers” think if we don’t do it, who’s going to do it? But maybe by doing everything ourselves, we are robbing someone else of the joy of the work? After you share the workload, use that moment to step back to see the whole picture of what God is doing (because believe me- He’s working through more than just you and me)!
First, make sure you unplug: Turn off the phone or leave it in the other room.
If we want to hear God we need to actually listen. Then, make sure you are actually resting. That doesn’t mean a nap for everyone. It might mean a day at the pool or coffee with a good friend. And, we all know the difference between a “trip” verses a “vacation.” Find whatever will refuel your soul and give you that renewed energy you need to keep giving to your family, job, etc.!
I know it’s hard to ignore the grieving mother or the hurting teen, but know that you aren’t ignoring. You DO care, and because you care, you are being strategic so that you can minister best to each person God places in your life.
Now, don’t forget how important it is for your volunteers to get rest as well! After all, they are the backbone of your ministry! My church used to run a week long, all day, camp for kids. After a few years, we started noticing a terrible trend. We would invest in a group of wonderful volunteers with such great potential. They would invest all week in the kids’ lives, but then, nothing. The volunteers would not return for the rest of the summer. In fact, I think they would even avoid eye contact with anyone from the kids ministry team. For the rest of the summer, we were so short on volunteers to work with the kids that we had just worked so hard to bring in our doors. After realizing that we were exhausting our entire volunteer base in just 1 week, we redesigned the camp. It is now four half-days that include an intentional appreciation strategically throughout the week. After this major shift, we have been able to retain these volunteers and even use the week to train some of our best small group leaders!
So now is the time, before you are completely exhausted, take time to rest, to refuel. Fall is coming, and this is such an important time to be on your game. Take the time now to schedule specific moments for rest this summer and then make it part of your regular rhythm.
God has so much in store for you and if you are completely worn out you will have nothing left to give. Remember- work flows from rest. Rest is not a reward at the end of the week but the fuel we need to accomplish God’s work!