…He’s solid rock under my feet,
breathing room for my soul…
Psalm 62:1-2 (MSG)
We may live in a culture that glorifies busy, but we serve a kind and loving God who wants so much more for us than a life of stress induced headaches, insomnia and burnout. So important was the concept of intentional rest, that He wired it into the very framework of our existence. At the beginning of creation, God set the rhythm for work and rest.
Life is messy and unpredictable. Rest isn’t a cure-all pill, it’s a multi-vitamin for the soul. It comes in daily, weekly and seasonal doses at just the right time.
I can vividly remember, standing in the kitchen during a particularly draining period in our lives, breathing in and out… slowly. I can still feel the heaviness in my heart and on my shoulders as I leaned against the counter, wanting to cry both tears of joy and exhaustion at the same time. The one thought that kept me going was the knowledge of a vacation date on the calendar. I could picture myself standing at the water’s edge, crying my eyes out as the waves crashed around my feet and melted away my stress.
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. Genesis 2:2 (NIV)
Work Hard, Rest Often
On a daily level, God calls us to set aside the quiet moments to meet with Him and be filled. We pause to eat food and sleep to re-energize our physical bodies. We are urged to plan margin into our weeks and remember a Sabbath day of rest.
There are numerous examples throughout the Bible of times that people were in over their heads and needed a breather. Many times our attention is directed at, dare I say, “hangry” individuals that had pushed themselves too far. Even Jesus was known to withdraw from the tiresome demands of the daily grind, to recharge physically. It is clear in many of these situations, that the physical and mental health of the body had to be restored before spiritual renewal could take place.
Are you hangry for spiritual and physical renewal? Are you making room for intentional times of rest on a daily, weekly and monthly basis?
My favorite example of this is found in 1 Kings 18:16 – 19:18. Elijah has just experienced this amazing work of God, first-hand. He experiences the joy and emotional high of witnessing the All Mighty God respond to his personal cry for help in an immediate and powerful way. And yet, he immediately finds himself physically drained, depressed, fearful and spiritually lost (this is so relatable for those of us in ministry!). But, rather than laugh in his face or make light of his pain, God cares for Elijah’s physical needs. He has him rest and eat before addressing his spiritual concerns.
My husband and I were married in 2003 and immediately started in full-time ministry together, which means I’ve been a Pastor’s Wife for almost 15 years! Through the years, we’ve always felt a clear, reassuring call to ministry within the local church. Being a Pastor’s family presents us with some unique scheduling challenges. As a Pastor, you’re always on call, but weekdays are easier to take off than weekends. Side note: this is one of the reasons homeschooling works for our family, since we have a very non-traditional work schedule.
Over the years, we’ve seen first-hand, the devastating effects of suicide, sexual abuse, financial ruin, self harm, affairs and drug abuse as we’ve walked through these painful situations with people we love. We’ve also had the privilege of witnessing and sharing in new birth, healing, forgiveness and restoration. We’ve walked through some tough situations within the church and have dealt with our own family struggles too. It’s safe to say, for every mountain top experience, there is a valley.
Through conflict, we have been stretched and worn thin at times. Our own flaws and ugliness have shown when the heat was on. We’ve cried ourselves to sleep at times, tossed and turned with heavy things weighing on our hearts. We’ve sat awake and prayed through the night. We’ve struggling right along with the best of them and carried our share of hurt.
This past Summer, we began the adoption process of our 4th child; a beautiful, blue eyed baby boy who was born addicted to narcotics. We spent the rest of the year, waking up with him every 30 minutes through the night and trying desperately to get him to eat and gain weight. Long term sleep deprivation brought on physical and mental exhaustion, to an extreme I had never experienced before. Sleep deprivation also left me wide open and raw to a number of other challenges
Between our adoption, juggling multiple side jobs, growing a small business, homeschooling 3 kids, adopting a 4th (and occasionally caring for a 5th), church responsibilities and relationship struggles, I can honestly say, times of rest keep us sane. We are blessed to be living a beautiful, abundant life, complete with a little bit of crazy.
Pulling away from the crowds and drawing near to Jesus is what gets us through.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28(NIV)
Growing up, I remember my mom pleading on numerous occasions to “go away somewhere.” She knew that to find rest, we needed to retreat.
We are incredibly grateful to be a part of a church that recognizes the importance of regular breaks and time away. Some of our most refreshing moments away have been on trips together as a family where we have taken in the beauty and majesty of God in creation. There are few things more life giving than the vastness of the ocean or the majesty of the mountains. When you can find them both in one spot, even better!
Where do you retreat to find renewal? What kinds of life-breathing things are you surrounding yourself with?
You can find rest on a vacation, a day off, at a church service, in a time of prayer, or on a walk. Where do you go to find rest? How often are you unplugging from social media, the news or your job? Did you know that almost 50% of Americans are finishing the year with unused vacation days? Don’t be one of them!
Our church leadership has recently adopted a policy that will give their Pastors, regularly scheduled sabbaticals for extended periods of time away. They want us to be refreshed and recharged, so we can return to work with enthusiasm and joy! Isn’t that great?! We are scheduled to have our first sabbatical time this Spring. We are humbled and grateful to be a part of a church that values rest. We have been doing a lot of research and surveying other Pastors who have taken extended sabbaticals to find out what worked and didn’t work for them.
For now, our goals for this sabbatical time include:
- Writing family goals and a family vision statement
- Focused, unrushed time in God’s Word
- Time spent journaling
- Song writing (my personal goal!)
- Quality time together as a family
- Prayer together as a couple
- Healthy eating
- Daily walks
- Removal of distractions and fasting from indulgences
When we were first told that we would be getting some extended time away on sabbatical, our first concern was where we could stay for that long of a time and not spend a fortune! We wanted to go somewhere free from distractions, where we could picture ourselves settling in and resting, without feeling tempted to be on the go.
We’re Going to Hawaii!
God has provided a place for us to stay on the island of Maui, and we are once again, humbled and so very grateful. Jay and I went to Hawaii on our honeymoon and Maui has become one of our most favorite places on earth. We are so excited for the opportunity to take our kids there too. We did some research to determine the best way to earn airline miles and have accumulated enough to cover a large portion our flights!
We will be using a couple vacation days at the beginning and end of our sabbatical time to unwind before settling in for some focused rest. We’ll be stopping for a layover in California on the way out and on the way back, visiting Disneyland and San Francisco.
I’ll be sharing the tips and tricks we have used to accumulate airline miles as well as how we earned enough points to cover our tickets into Disneyland! We are a Disney WORLD loving family and we’re excited to experience DisneyLAND for the first time. I’ll also be sharing all my tips for traveling with 4 young kids! Follow along as I share more details in future posts!
We can’t wait to meet God at the water’s edge and return home with renewed energy for our local ministries. We are excited and expectant of what God will do during this time of rest and breathing room for the soul.
Pin-it for later!