Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Have You Had a Rest Lately?

As I write this post I am just into my final two weeks of a nine-week sabbatical from my work as a pastor. Yes, nine weeks off to travel, relax, do nothing, read a book, spend time with my wife or whatever. I am very thankful that my church, Austin Christian Fellowship, makes that kind of break after seven years of service an option.

So as we head off to one more adventure in San Francisco and Yosemite National Park, I wanted to give you a few of the benefits of this time off that I know I must keep in my life in some form, even if I can't get nine weeks in a row very often.

You see we live in a driven culture. We all exist under the umbrella of expectations, potential and success. We want to have what everyone else has, we fear our kids will miss out on something they need for life and we're addicted to the rush of accomplishment. So we rarely slow down. Even our leisure is harried. Our vacations are even jam-packed with more to do, see and overcome.

Things that should be plain fun like watching our son or daughter play a game or star in a play are often simply opportunities for us to catch our breath or sneak in a short nap. We cram our exercise and meals into an already jampacked schedule. We take more to help us sleep than ever before and many of us are getting by on the bare minimums.

Time off, real time off, reminds you that you simply can't keep living that way and that there is another, better option.

First, time off or rest reminds us what is really important. There are a lot of things I have not done during this time that I usually do each day or week that I found I can live without. I also discovered some things that I was able to add to my life that I don't want to stop now.  I need to play more, keep exercise important but not rushed and spend more time just drinking coffee without a timetable. I have new goals regarding my wife and family that I haven't thought about lately.

Second, time off or rest give us perspective. Busyness keeps us from evaluating what we're doing and why. We may be accomplishing lots of good things but are they the best things, especially for us and our family.  It's too easy to wake up one day and realize that ten or twenty years went by and we just did the same things over and over and never thought about why.

Third, time off or rest help us focus better on our relationship with God. When we're too busy we can become too busy for God or we begin to think that He wants us in this ratrace too.  We start thinking that the more things we do for him earn us more points or favor when in reality He often just wants to be with us where we are.  He wants us to enjoy Him and Him us.

One day on the sabbatical I was in North Texas where the mornings are usually cool even in the summer. I got up early and went to get coffee for the adults and walked out the door into the pleasant temperatures.  As I drove to the coffee shop and back and enjoyed the crisp air I found myself worshipping God and thanking him for that moment.  I was just enjoying Him, His creation and my moment in it. I want and need more spaces like that and I would guess you do too.

And we won't get them if we don't slow down and really rest. We may have to do it in little moments much of the time but if those moments become normal we'll never go back to living without them.
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

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