Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Why Rest Should be in My Work Routine

Sabbath = Hebrew for "rest"

We need to rest regularly and often. We are limited and to live as if we're not is not only sinful--it's stupid.

It's also disobedient. God commanded that we rest. It's one of his top 10 (See the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20).

We should rest daily. Daily time alone with God. This was Jesus' practice. (Mark 1:35)

We should rest weekly. A day of "not creating" is consistent with God's example after the creation of the world. (Day 7) Also, 10 Commandments: Heard of them!

We should pull away monthly. Perhaps half a day away from the hustle and bustle to think about life and work from a higher altitude would give us better perspective. Maybe this falls more into the category of 'working-on' instead of 'working-in' and therefore is still work. It's still worth considering as a part of the rhythm of your life.

We should retreat regularly with others. Jesus did this with his disciples. A time to debrief and learn from life lessons before re-engaging. Time to pray and take a deep breath. This is a key way to develop your team as disciples. It's what Jesus did with his disciples after he sent them out in two's. (as the 12 and the 70) They came back, retreated, rested, celebrated and learned from Jesus as he answered their questions and shared his observations.

I would also add that personal solo retreats are also very helpful. Part of this depends on how you are refueled. If people drain you, this will serve you well. If they fuel you, you'll not be inclined to do this. And that's okay.

We should vacation annually. When you have family, it's easy to run them like another business and relate to them as young employees who's job it is is to make good grades, succeed in extra-curricular and get scholarships. You can treat your spouse as a partner in the corporation ("family" business-no pun intended) instead of as the love of your life and your best friend. That usually happens when you never step back from the intense flow of life and take an extended break.

Larger chunks are better. 

They help us come off of our adrenaline addiction (or treadmill depending on how you work) and workaholic tendencies and loosen up. It takes us guys several days to do this. A carefree, low stress vacation is often better than a go-go-go one because you're just exchanging one kind of adrenaline for another. I'm not suggesting a trip to a county library is necessarily the best vacation, but a relaxed schedule helps a great deal here. 

Get outdoors and take in sunshine (unless you do that all the time-maybe a movie theater is better). Get out of town to get out of your routine, away from your chores and projects, and away from your to-do lists.

And make sure that time alone with God is a regular part of your vacation too. If you feel like you need to vacation from God, then something is wrong with how you relate to God. 

Vacationing from church, on the other hand, is sometimes a good move. God refreshes us--church can but doesn't always. And you may need to vacation from your routine way of spending time alone with God. Some of the best prayer times I've had were walking down a beach with my New Testament in my hand, no time constraint, no reading plan and no real agenda other than to be with God. This is much different from my normal Bible, journal, reading plan, desk/table environment. (which works well for me) I usually try to mix it up on these retreats and vacations since I'm out of my routine anyway. 

While we all benefit from the principle of rest, everybody is a little different. Experiment and figure out what works best for you. The key is to build rest into the rhythm of your life. 

At the end of the day, you're going to be more fulfilled, creative, relationally stable, full of God's Spirit, likable, and productive if you build into your life times of refreshment and rest.