Ministry can be hard. Over the last eighteen months, it has become exponentially more difficult for many of us. If you are like me, you feel torn. You love serving God and feel blessed that you are in a position to do so regularly. You love other people and want to not only meet their earthly needs, but help them spend eternity in Heaven. On the other hand, that doesn’t remove the reality that the tougher your ministry is, the more rest you will need to stay healthy physically, mentally and spiritually.
First, let me reassure you that not only did Jesus make time for rest while he was on earth, he made sure his disciples rested, too. We sometimes think that Jesus was somehow beyond needing food and rest, but he wasn’t. He doesn’t expect you to go without rest either.
Once you have accepted the concept that rest can actually help your ministry, the next problem can be finding the time. It’s important to understand that you will need to schedule and build strong boundaries around your times of Sabbath type rest. If not, they will be eaten away by texts, calls, emails, meetings and dozens of other things. Here are some ways to create some Sabbath type rest time in your life.
- Wake up early. Don’t try this if you aren’t a morning person, but if you naturally wake early set aside thirty minutes to an hour in the morning for spiritual rest activities.
- Unplug before bed. Most of us spend the time before bed engaged with some device. Put down the devices and engage in spiritual rest activities instead.
- Block out a day, morning or afternoon. This one is tricky, but it can be done. Just don’t fill it with errands. Use it for spiritual rest activities. Remind yourself that those “urgent” requests from others can usually wait a few hours if not an entire day. It’s amazing how often those “urgent” needs resolve themselves without your intervention.
- Delegate. Yes, you read that correctly. Many in ministry are doing things that should be delegated to others. Some things absolutely need to be handled by you, but delegating those other tasks can free up time for some much needed spiritual rest activities.
- Find a substitute. Can someone handle your duties for a period of time while you take a break for spiritual rest? A full sabbatical would be nice, but sometimes a week or two can revive you.
- Plan a mini unplugged retreat for yourself. Go somewhere quiet. Let everyone know how to reach you in a real emergency, then unplug. Focus on spiritual rest activities for two or more days. If you are an extrovert, take your spouse or friend so you also get your needed people time.
Making time for rest isn’t always easy, but it’s essential if you want to minister effectively. If you aren’t sure how to use your Sabbath type rest times to truly recharge, our next post will give you some ideas.