Hey, everyone! My name is Nick, and I’m the founder and host of the Tactical Ministry Podcast. Today I’d like to spend just a couple minutes talking about something that is easy to agree with but extremely difficult to implement.
This is a topic that I have struggled with over the years, and specifically, it’s the topic of rest.
This past week my church was a host site for the Global Leadership Summit. At the summit, Juliet Funt spoke on creating WhiteSpace in our lives. It was a fantastic session full of practical advice.
The idea is that we need to learn to do less again. By adding space in our daily lives to rest, relax, and disengage our brains, we energize ourselves for better leadership. I’m not making anything from this endorsement, but I’d encourage you to check out Juliet Funt and her work at whitespaceatwork.com. Juliet says that people who practice whitespace (or what I’m calling rest) are 180% more energized, 155% happier with their job, 50% more motivated, 108% more engaged, 150% happier with life, and 50% more productive. Rest is important.
This isn’t a new discovery as God has been saying this from the beginning of time. In the book of Genesis, we learn that God even dedicated a day of rest as an example to all of us. Rest, or what the Jews called Sabbath was a crucial practice for Jews as they followed God. This principle didn’t stand the test of time just to be destroyed with the invention of micro-interactions via notifications on our phone. Rest is important. It is needed. It is crucial.
Ok, some of you are thinking “SKIP,” but Before you pause and go to the next podcast on your list, I want you to process some quick statements to see if you’re as good at resting as you might think you are. For everyone else who just knows and accepts the fact that we suck at resting, hold tight and I’ll be right back.
Ok, so you think you’re good at resting. I want you to Process these statements with me to see if they are true for you. If you agree on every point here, then you can go to the next podcast. But I think this is a huge issue for improvement for all of us.
The first statement is this:
- When I rest, I disengage from work entirely. I turn off notifications, emails alerts, I allow text messages remain unopened and clock out mentally. How are you doing so far?
- The second statement is: During resting times, I refuse to read books that will help me improve my game in ministry or at work. And If I read, I read non-work/non-ministry related books. I read for pleasure, for creativity, and fun.
- The third statement: When I rest, I have meaningful conversations with my spouse or friends. I guard this time, and nothing gets in the way.
- Finally, for our single listeners: If I’m single, I go on real vacations by myself or with friends and have fun. I leave my extended family at home.
Ok now that I’m positive we’ve realized every one of us has work to do let’s dive in for a couple of moments on some practical ways we can improve our resting game.
First, as leaders we’re always preaching boundaries to those around us, but how often do we listen to our own advice? How often do we take seriously God’s command to rest and Sabbath? Just because we are leaders doesn’t mean that we have to be connected and easily accessible 24/7/365.
I’ve witnessed two things about this from leaders that I’ve been mentored by or have followed:
First: Healthy leaders take rest very seriously. Convention tells us though that if we disengage for rest, then we’ll lose our edge, but studies the opposite. Rest actually, INCREASES our ability to lead better. It also increases our capacity to be more creative. Entrepreneur magazines say that we need “recovery opportunities.” We need to give our minds permission and the ability to pull away and focus on things that don’t carry a deadline or paycheck.
So Here’s the takeaway. Recovery Opportunities don’t just need to occur once a year at vacation time. We should at least have one day a week that we disengage and allow ourselves to recover.
For pastors, let me say it this way. When we choose to be connected 24/7/365 what we’re saying is that we need to work harder than God. God himself set up a system of total rest one day every week. Do you need to work harder than God? Do you believe that? Maybe you don’t believe that, but your actions say different.
The second thing I’ve noticed is the rise of staycations.
My family has done these a couple of times, and while helpful and needed for financial reasons on occasion, they are never as good as the real thing. Nothing feels better than leaving town, going on an adventure, and being away from normal life.
If you haven’t taken a vacation due to money or think the only thing you can afford is staycations, then you’re not working hard enough to lead your finances. Everyone can drive to another city, camp, get a cheap hotel, pack your meals, and go to a park. Drive to another town, camp or get a cheap hotel, take food with you, and spend time at the park.
If you can’t afford to leave town, start thinking about what subscription based service to cancel. Leave that item in the Amazon cart instead of clicking purchase. Sell some stuff in your house you never use and put all of that towards at least one time away every year. Getting away every year will compliment your weekly day of rest and recovery.
Now listen to me here. I’ve got several single friends that say they should save their money, wait to take vacations until they are married, whatever the excuse. I think That’s a load of bull. Think about this with me: You have no family obligations, and you aren’t helping pay for diapers. Spend your money on an adventure you won’t be able to do once you are married and have children.
I convinced my best friend to go to see the Green Bay Packers play at Lambeau Field. Just this past week I was talking with another friend and suggested he go diving in a shark cage. Have some fun! Enjoy the time away! Go by yourself or even take another friend.
Now Let me say this: I’m not talking about taking a vacation to spring break beach or vacations to get wasted.
But Be an adult. Take adult vacations. Have some fun. You’ll end up looking back on these experiences and cherishing them.
So to wrap up today, I want you to answer these questions:
- How are you going to disengage one day every week? What day are you going to choose? How are you going to disconnect one day every week? Now, Depending on your personality type, Maybe this looks like alone time for you, or maybe it’s hanging out with people not related to work. If you choose to go out though, be with people that give you life, not people who will draw you into work conversations.
- How can you save for an out of town vacation? Like I said before, so many of us just don’t have the money, but we do have the money to spend on a subscriptions services to watch the latest tv episodes or original movies. What do you need to sell, what do you need to discontinue, what do you need to do to get away at least for a couple of days to the next town once a year?
- The last question is this: If you’re single and have a job with vacation time, how can you use your vacation time for adventure? I know several people who don’t use their vacation time because they are waiting until they get married. That’s crazy! You don’t stop your life right now waiting for the next life to begin. Stop banking vacation time. Maybe you don’t take it because you feel like you have nowhere to go. Maybe you use all your vacation time to visit family. Go ahead and love your family, but don’t blow all your vacation time going to see them. Use your vacation time and have an adventure. Again, you could go on an adventure by yourself or ask someone to go with you. The point is you’re making the most of every opportunity.
Rest is critical to productivity. Rest is essential to greater creativity. Rest allows us to recharge and be ready for that next challenge.
Mark Buchanan says in The Holy Wild, “Most of the things we need to be most fully alive never come in busyness. They grow in rest.”
Thank you for listening to the Tactical Ministry podcast. Remember: We are only one decision away from being a better leader. Find that next step. Embrace that next step! Become that next step.