The idea of resting could be a lost art.
Netflix binging is not. You've watched one episode and then another. You are feeling good. You're brain is finally shutting down. And then Netflix asks you that deep, dark question: "Play next episode?" That episode is going to automatically start playing and you've only got about 15 seconds to decide what you are going to do with the rest of your life. Your choice: Stop watching Netflix and go become a world changer or watch one more episode. Too late...it's already started.
Rest comes in many forms but the best kind of rest is one that rejuvenates the body, soul and spirit. It rekindles a fire in you again. A Sabbath is unique because it's a God initiated and God-inspired rest that replenishes holistically.
The idea of a Sabbath is an idea that seems so old-school. "Remember the Sabbath day and keep it Holy." That is a commandment...in case you forgot. But it feels like a command that would work if we lived in 1803 where our lives consisted of feeding livestock, growing beans, going to blacksmith school or making bread in a stone oven all day.
I don't think resting has to be so complicated and so difficult to find. Could resting at the right times be the best leadership advice we could ever listen to?
Take a different approach to Sabbath:
+ Take 30-60 minute Sabbath in the morning to be committed to reading God's Word and having a time of prayer. It fuels you for the day and it gives you an opportunity to invite God into your meetings and plans before they even start. I always chose to "eat Scripture" before I eat my breakfast. A simple discipline that keeps me on track and committed.
+ Take a 1/2 day Sabbath each week to shut off your phone and email and take a Sabbath for about 2-3 hours in your week. When I worked in Washington DC, I would take Wednesday mornings, from 9-12 and I would simply lay out my next few weeks and months before God. I would look at it and pray through it. I would keep my journal page open and would jot down ideas God would put in mind, Scriptures, faces of those who I felt I needed to reach out to, etc. I would take that time to dream and pray into the plans and projects I was working on. It was simply God leading the agenda and i simply prayed, listened and wrote down what I thought God was speaking. Some great blueprints for my ministry came from those days. Probably one of the most effective disciplines of my career.
+ Take your Sabbath Day and keep it holy by giving a day to God. On this day, give Godly relationships priority, spend quality time and seek God together as a family, laugh, eat a great meal together, watch a movie, be outside...and simply do stuff that recharges you and energizes you. Because relationships energize me specifically, I always build into my Sabbath days conversations with those who inspire me, encourage me and build me up. If you're the opposite, build into your day downtime for just you and let those around you know this is how you recharge.
+ Take a monthly Sabbath Day once a month to consecrate your family, career and future to God. Use this time to evaluate, think critically, make plans and be intentional. Pray over your family and think critically about your families trajectory: financial goals, marriage tune-ups, etc. Use this time to lay difficult relationships before God and ask if there are any planks in your own eye. Pray into the future plans so you can see and hear what God's heart is for you for your future. Take time to pray for others and ask God who needs you to encourage them or pray for them. It's here that I got retreat ideas, family values implemented, mentorship relationships established, etc.
+ Take a yearly Sabbath retreat. This doesn't have to be a big production. For me, this is a "staycation" style. I will do this every year in January. I will take a few days to fast, walk the local parks, hit some of my favorite places that refresh me, prayer walk, hit up a another church and use their sanctuary and simply let God speak to me. If you're feeling more ambitious, then simply go camping, get a cabin or book a hotel room so you can spend a few days away and grab a hold of God's plans and purposes for you.
And the result: I've never experienced burnout. The fire God put in my heart to give my all for Him stays lit and fueled (Leviticus 6:12-13).
Burnout is not simply a result of working a lot of hours.
Burnout happens when you aren't in control of how you live out your life, when you lack relational encouragement and when you don't tailor your responsibilities to connect with your calling.
These Sabbaths won't just magically happen. You have to get out your phone and start right now by adding them into your calendar and guarding that time. You have to let your family know. If it's necessary and appropriate, let your superiors know as well and watch your spiritual life get reignited.
How do you stay refreshed and rested...share in the comment thread below.
Why Netflix binge when you can... "Sabbath Binge."