End of next week, I am speaking on Honoring Rhythms of Rest at the GEMS Leadership Conference.
I have cut out many of my notes because I only have ONE hour. 🙂 Right now, my thoughts reflect a weekend retreat’s worth of speaking! Instead of dismissing everything, I’ll share some ‘outtakes’ here today.
Okay? Thanks for listening.
During this sabbatical period, plans are in place to foster spiritual and physical renewal after an incredibly strenuous year. While we are very grateful for this time…
…there is NO way we could have waited until these summer months to intentionally rest.
No way at all. We would have seriously burnt out, and very quickly.
I want to encourage anyone reading today that even in days of difficulty, especially in seasons of strain, it is more than ever a priority to be gracious with yourself and to REST.
Before I share just what our rest patterns over the last six months looked like, I want to be clear about a few things:
Feeling overwhelmed is NOT necessarily burnout.
Working hard towards a goal, counting the cost and making sacrifices for the short term is NOT necessarily burnout.
Living life a little messier than normal, or even unbalanced for a time, is NOT necessarily burnout.
Absolutely, each of these can contribute to serious strain. In the middle of or after a crisis, time for recuperation is necessary.
However, in Scripture, God allowed multiple men and women, including his Son, to face temporary hardship and difficulty which overwhelmed their spirits to the core. Many of these individuals were shaken, terrified, experienced despair, lost hope, and cried out repeatedly for relief.
All this is part of the human experience when crisis comes. This is our human response and even makes sense.
Thankfully, we have a God who upholds us in these seasons! We are never alone. Then, yes — a BIG YES — we must attend to our needs as well.
By end of 2014, the hint of burnout smoke hung around our lives just a little too closely. We intentionally took breathers and breaks, but it just wasn’t enough.
My husband especially grew adamant that we not wait for the summer to take extra breaks — and he was right!
So, we crafted a January to June plan for experiencing Sabbath rest in the middle of our hard days.
We knew life after this three-month summer break would be very different, but we could not wait until now for extra rest.
You might read below and think our ideas were just a bit much to keep up with (and you have a point)! This is not our normal schedule or routine for taking breaks.
However, our plan matched the intensity of life’s expectations over these last six months.
I am deeply grateful we were wise enough to pay attention to our needs, and to push back the always-present work to make room for…FUN and REST! 🙂
Here is what it looked like January to June 2015 for our family :
Individually and our marriage
- weekly date nights for my husband and I
- one 1/2 day every week for both my husband and I to rest (we did this on separate days, enjoying time alone)
- a 3 day retreat for each of us separately
- a 3 day retreat for us together
- intentional mentoring for our marriage, ministry life, and parenting
For the family
- a weekly special dinner and devotional time with the kids (sharing stories of God’s faithfulness to our family)
- pizza and movie night on Friday evenings – primarily for the kids alone, who really looked forward to this time!
- special times with our children individually or as a group
None of this was done with perfection — but this was never the point.
Sure, more work at church and even at home could have been accomplished, but at what additional cost? Yes, we are tired still and do need to regain strength. We also plan to lay out a new lifestyle pattern for our next season.
Personally, it often takes me several months, sometimes a year, to bounce back from significant strain.
Each of my sickly pregnancies and initial newborn baby days were trying seasons; each one required a recovery period. I think 2014 into 2015 felt similarly…like I had birthed a new baby. Totally worth it, but completely exhausting! 🙂
Thankfully, we did not fully burn out in the middle of it all.
Sister, if you find yourself limping into the next season of life tired and worn, may I encourage you today to create a plan for intentional extra rest? At least enough to keep you from burning out completely?
If you can stop altogether for a few days or maybe weeks — please do.
If not, establish patterns of REST in the midst of crisis, or ask another trusted person to make a plan for you. Go ahead, everything is NOT going to fall apart. All will be okay, it really will. Your family, your job, your life can be cared for in another way for a (short or long) time.
Take a morning, an evening, a full day or a full week, whatever your life can afford NOW.
Do not wait until ‘when this is over’. Yes, it is that important.
I have prayed for you sister. Even before you read this post, I prayed. Our God is more than enough and I believe He will help you make a plan for PAUSE.