Last month when I had the blessing of speaking to a group of pastor’s wives, my subject was on REST. I encouraged them from the life of Jesus who told His disciples in Mark 6:31, where He said,
Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while; for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.
We can all push ourselves so hard for so long that we find that we, like the disciples, scarcely have time to sit down for supper! We eat on the run. We try to play catch up with the laundry on Saturday as the mountain of clothes in the hamper resembles that of Mt Everest. We feel deprived of time with our spouse. We haven’t had a whole paragraph of conversation with our kids – only phrases like, “Where’s your homework? “Did you brush your teeth?” and “What time is your game tonight?” Our spiritual life is shallow and leaves only guilt instead of joy and peace.
Something has to give.
The suggestion I’m going to share is one I learned this summer during our sabbatical. It’s one that is harder to do than say, but it’s needed, and may I also add, it’s necessary if we’re to live out fruitful lives for God’s glory.
Schedule unscheduled time.
Sit down with your calendar, a red pen (and your spouse, if you’re married) and find regular times you can be “unscheduled.” I would recommend that you spend these times as a family or just as a couple. It doesn’t have to be a whole week or weekend – it could be just one whole day. But take that red pen and put a big red “X” over at least one day every couple of weeks where you are
- Try to stay unconnected while you’re away, meaning don’t plug into the Internet. Don’t text with friends. Don’t send emails. Instead, try to:
- Rest – Sleep in. Take a nap. Go to bed early
- Play – Have fun! Play games. Go to a concert. Enjoy a snack. Take a drive.
- Read God’s Word
- Write in your journal
- Spend time in prayer
- Make meals easy if you’re at home or staying somewhere where you still need to prepare meals.
- Work on a project that is different from your normal tasks; work on a hobby you enjoy, for example.
Even just a day away from your normally hectic routine will energize you and help you to be ready to return to the demands that await you. After Jesus and His disciples returned from their rest, Jesus was immediately moved with compassion on the crowd that met Him because they were as sheep having no shepherd. We, too, will have a renewed love to minister to those in our lives after we’ve taken time to schedule being unscheduled.
Do you need to mark out a day in red ink? Ask the Lord how, where and when, then do it!