Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Day has always been my favorite time of the year. When I was a kid and when I was in college and graduate school, it was my favorite time of the year because I had the opportunity to rest, relax, spend time with love ones and do things that I didn’t get a chance to do when life was full of responsibilities. Over the past few years, this season has been one of my favorites because I was excited to get the chance to work uninterrupted checking things off my list that I had been trying to get to for months! Isn’t it funny how times change? From excited about rest to taking rest time for work! Like the adage says, everything I need for life I learned in Kindergarten because I should have stuck to the first sentiment of taking these breaks to actually break from the work routine. Over this next week, when most of us in ministry will benefit from several off-days in a row, let’s take this time to rest from the responsibilities of the vocation.
I was speaking to one of my good friends last week, she is a next gen leader, and I was shocked when she told me that her email is not connected to her cell phone. Surprised I said, “what do you mean?” She said “No ma’am! I need the opportunity to disengage uninterrupted!” Let’s all take our cue from my friend over this next 7-10 days. If your job will allow you, and your email is connected to your phone, go to your settings and delete the work account. Okay…if this suggestion makes you hyperventilate at least disable your alert notifications. Cut on your auto-reply and let the messages wait until you return to the office recharged, rested, and refueled.
Most of us have some type of computer, laptop, or net book at our houses. Resist the temptation to remote into your office and work on appropriating next year’s budget to the events coming up in the first or second quarter. Determine that you will not log on and start working on lessons and sermons for the end of January or the beginning of February. Force yourself to not get on and spend countless hours organizing your computer files. That work will be there when you return but the rest time will not remain. It is not ongoing. This season will soon be over and your body and mind need the rejuvenation time.
Proper rest is necessary for continued health, excitement, and strength. During graduate school I had a job at the local L.A. Fitness. When I was in training for the sales department, we were told to encourage new clients to come to the gym every-other-day because muscles need time to rest and heal if they are going to grow properly. If they insisted on coming every day, they should work different muscle groups as to not overly tax and possibly damage muscles that were over exerted. Unfortunately, we see the results of ministerial muscles that have been overtaxed, overworked, overexerted and not given the opportunity to heal. These overtaxed and overworked muscles show up in our spiritual lives and feelings of cynicism, frustration, despair, and depression. Refuse to let your muscles become damaged. Allow God to massage the muscles you have been working so hard over the last year and take time to rest. Enjoy the holidays! Enjoy your family and friends! And refuse to let the holidays become work from home days.