May 10, 2019

Strategic Rest

The calendar year has a natural rhythm and flow. Some months are busy with activity, while others offer a bit of a respite. Both are necessary. I find this to be true in both my personal life and my ministry. God builds responsibility and rest into our lives. The problem is, we’re often so tired from the busyness that we can squander opportunities for rest. In order to be ready for the next busy season, we need strategic rest. Here’s what I mean.


For months now, I’ve been on the road speaking at revivals, marriage conferences, men’s events, and ministerial meetings. A full calendar means a busy ministry, which is a blessing. Being gone so much also means that life is busy when I return to responsibilities at home. For BKM, the month of May marks the beginning of a little breathing space. There are fewer speaking engagements in the summer months, giving me the opportunity to refuel – physically, mentally, and spiritually. 


So, I’m approaching my down time strategically. For instance, our staff is using this time to discuss new ministry projects, review what’s working well and talking through what needs more attention. And because I’m not preparing sermons just now, I can do the kind of personal reading that encourages me and prepares me for the next busy season of ministry. 


It’s also a time to focus on family. Since Stacey is a teacher, being home more during the summer months allows us to reconnect and spend precious time together. That doesn’t mean that life is necessarily quiet. We’re in the middle of planning our son’s wedding; not to mention enjoying every minute we can with our first grandchild. But none of these things will just happen. I must plan for them.


As I thought about planning strategic rest in my own life, I couldn’t help but think that it’s beneficial for everyone. Even if the rhythm and flow of your life is the exact opposite of mine, the principles remain the same. God never intended for us to operate at full throttle all of the time. That’s why He included a day of rest into the Israelite’s weekly life. 


Strategic rest begins as a weekly habit for us, too. Yes, I’m talking about Sundays. What is your approach to the Lord’s Day? For many, it’s become a day of leisure and laundry rather than worship and restoration. Sundays are a believer’s day to recharge spiritually; not just at church, but continuing with our thoughts and conversations throughout the day.


We need to build margin into our daily lives, as well. Social media is hands down the biggest thief of our time. We may intend to check it quickly, but 20 or 30 minutes goes by before we know it. Being strategic with our day requires planning. For instance, is there a book you’ve been meaning to read? Why not put it on your bedside table so you’re more likely to read at night rather than scroll through social media? You’ll probably fall asleep more content and less frustrated.


Finally, think about how to plan times of strategic rest in the coming months. Are you going on a family vacation or a getaway with your spouse? What conversations would help you to reconnect? Use the time to talk through future plans and goals. God designed us for responsibility but He also created rest. My prayer is that you will plan time to recharge – physically, mentally, and spiritually.