Have you ever wondered how some people manage to find time to unplug? This is what you need to do if you want to accomplish more this year.
For years, I found plenty of time to unplug. Then I discovered that the more time I took for myself, the more tired I got. It also placed a strain on my closest relationships. This one little trick helped me to get back on track.
When it comes to rest, I’ve found that quality is just as important as quantity.
Remember, vocation came before vacation in the bible. God placed Adam and Eve in the garden with the charge to ‘dress’ and ‘keep’ it. Work is a gift and a pleasure. It only became more difficult after they disobeyed God. Yet as difficult as it got, nowhere in scripture do we see God abolishing the command to rest one day a week despite how hectic life gets.
Although I’d heard of the benefits of regular rest, things never really clicked until recent years. It’s counterintuitive, but you can get more done by unplugging regularly. In fact, if you’re not scheduling rest, you’re probably not resting.
God knew what He was doing when He prescribed regular rest in creation. There is day then night. The seventh day is to be a day of rest (not necessarily Sunday, but at least one day). Mealtime is a time of rest. In fact, once every seven years, farmers were to let their fields rest! Yes, even the natural world needs rest. So what do your rhythms of rest look like on a daily, weekly, annual basis?
Imagine having a whole day every week to regroup and resharpen! You can, but it’s going to require faith. The irony is you can accomplish just as much in six days as you can in seven. I realize that makes no sense to some people. I can hear you saying right now “Who’s going to do it all if I don’t?”
So what does a day of rest look like?
If you’re a pastor, I’ve got news for you: Sunday is not your day of rest. That means you need to pick another day of the week to regroup and rest.
Again, maybe you think that if you just do whatever you want, you’ll have a ‘good’ day. But again, remember that quality is just as important as quantity. You could take a year off and be absolutely miserable at the end of it.
So lets talk about variety for a minute. Are you stuck in a rut where every rest day looks the same? We all know the golfer who golfs all summer and then is glad when the summer is over. Thank God there are seasons in the North east. Otherwise, many of us would do the same things all year and reap diminishing returns in the process!
When is the last time you spent a rest day outside? I can already hear some of you protesting because it’s too cold. Not when you’re moving. Ask kids. They just bundle up and go for it, be it ice skating, sledding or building a snow castle in the front yard.
“The earth is the LORD’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” Psalm 24:1
That doesn’t mean the outdoors is your primary place of worship. It means that there’s no place you can go and get away from evidence that there is a Creator. As a pastor I talk with people all of the time who say their church is in nature. I love the outdoors! But I love God even more and He designed us to thrive in community!
My son and I are currently working on survival packs to enjoy our times outside even more. Recently he saw someone using military water proof matches and now he wants to find some! Your essentials will include a flashlight or two, a map and two compasses. Two in case you don’t trust the first one.
On top of that, you can add a space blanket, chocolate, a mess kit, sharp knives and a fire starter. You never know when you’ll need them, and you’ll be quite happy to have them if you find yourself needing them. All of these items only weigh three or four pounds.
Once your kit or day bag is complete, you won’t have to go through the motions of preparing it every week.
I also received a Christmas present this year to help me enjoy my time outside even more. It’s a hand warmer and cell phone charger that can be charged with a USB cable just like your cell phone! I don’t currently have one (maybe you have an extra), but a GPS unit is also a great tool to have.
So how do you carve out a day just for yourself? Like everything else, if you don’t plan and schedule it, it’s not going to happen.
It may mean doing dishes and decluttering. You may have to service the car or cut the lawn. You may have to sit and just listen. Even after you do all of that, chances are your day of rest is going to include your family. Successful people know that the secret to having their own needs met is to meet the needs of others.
When it’s all said and done, you may not even end up with a whole day. You may just be able to slip away for a couple of hours. But remember, quality is just as important as quantity.
By now if you’re thinking that when you meet the needs of others, you will instantly have people meet yours, you are wrong! You’re going to have to invest. It’s going to take time to figure out what works best for you and your loved ones. Sometimes it may take years and still there will be no payout. That’s fine, that’s the way it goes. You’ll know in your heart of hearts that you’ve served as best you could.
Ultimately, there will be a reward. It may not be monetary. You may just receive a text when you get back from your day out and turn your cell phone back on. It may just come in the form of a ‘Thank You!’ letter after years of service or a blessing from God from out of the blue. Ideally you will see it in the changed lives of those you’ve invested in.
However, if you never schedule regular time to get away and regroup, chances are you’ll never be able to slow down enough to see the difference you’re making! So if you’re really busy right now, you need to unplug. You’re like your cellphone: you weren’t designed to run forever without recharging! For most people, one of the first things to get crossed off their list when they’re running full tilt is reflection and recharging. Don’t make that mistake of missing out on your pre-scheduled times of rest.