You may never have a sabbatical, but at the end of this post I’m going to share how you can create your own times of rest on a weekly basis, so keep reading!
As of yesterday, July 1, my husband and I completed our month-long Sabbatical. Wow. Our hearts are so full of all the things the Lord has done during those precious 30 days! You can be sure that I kept a journal each day to recount what was happening, what we were doing, and how the Lord was speaking to my heart.
I thought perhaps you would be interested to see how we spent some of our days. I mean, what do you do with 30 days of no ministry when it normally fills every day of the year?
We got outside. We got to choose the month for our sabbatical, and we chose June for a couple of reasons – one being that we love summertime and being outdoors. We took opportunities for drives to beautiful spots where we saw the hand of God. Here it is beautifully displayed in this double rainbow at Watauga Lake!
We enjoyed celebrations. The first day of June was Tennessee’s birthday. Jonesborough is the oldest city in the state, so the governor here came to speak briefly to the large crowd that gathered. The Oak Ridge Boys were there to sing the anthem and a couple of their oldies. It was the perfect beginning event! They were really popular in 1981, the year we were married, so their songs were pretty nostalgic. Anyone remember Elvira?!
We rested and read. We spent about five wonderful and quiet days at a lake cottage friends of ours graciously loaned to us. There’s no Internet; that in itself makes it a vacation! The beauty surrounding the cottage is always breathtaking and so relaxing!
One thing I prayed about were the books I should read. The Lord clearly led me to each one – even the fictional book about a pastor who takes an interim pastorate at an island church. There were so many parallels in our lives. But just having time to read was so wonderful!
We invested in our marriage. My husband chose a month-long devotional for couples that he found on-line and we read it together each day. It was on the love languages. You would think that at 40 years, we would each know the other’s love language, but this was a real learning time for both of us! Just having time to talk as a couple with no distractions, to read this devotional and pray together was another huge blessing.
We visited churches. Each Sunday we visited a new church in the area where we were. That was a blessing and also a time of learning. When you’re always in your own church, you don’t see your blind spots. As we visited other churches, it made us aware of things that might need change or adjusting in our own church. The preaching and worship (in most cases) were a true joy.
Now, how can YOU create your own regular period of rest in order to refresh yourself and be ready for the work ahead? Remember that we rest so we can work. It’s easy to think “I’ve worked hard; I deserve a rest!” But God’s directives to His people were that they would rest on the Sabbath so they could work the rest of the week. I began taking a “Sabbath rest” early last spring. Here’s my formula for refreshing myself each week:
- Choose one day a week for your Sabbath. For ministry families, Sunday is generally the busiest day of the week, so my day is Friday. It doesn’t have to be Sunday. Choose the day when you can really rest.
- Determine to spend quality time in God’s Word and prayer.
- Keep your busyness and chatter to a minimum.
- Decide what kind of things will fill your time. This doesn’t mean filling your day with busy things, but if you normally are doing work with your hands, then choose things that would work you mind. Read, work a puzzle, memorize a passage of Scripture. If you are normally working with your mind, do work with your hands. Work in the yard, organize or clean, work on a project.
- Rest. Allow yourself time to sleep in and/or take a nap.
- Get outside. Take a walk, ride bikes, go swimming. Sit outside and read.
- Spend time with those that will aid your rest.This isn’t the day for planning events or giving counsel. Spend time with others who will refresh you and you them.
- Plan ahead so your meals will be “easy” meals. Either prep a meal ahead and have it ready for the oven, or go out or pick up carry-out.
Does this Sabbath rest appeal to you? Does it seem do-able? I’d encourage you to pray about it and ask the Lord to help you come up with the best plan for you and then implement it as soon as possible!
Refresh yourself with a Sabbath rest!