This past Sunday, I was asked to sub in my church’s nursery. We had one little guy who was not happy to be there. In fact, we had to coax him into the classroom, step by step with Cheerios.
It worked. 🙂
But he was not having it. He didn’t want to be there. I tried every trick I had up my sleeve and nothing was calming him. Finally, I put him in the Jumperoo and he was happy! He jumped his little heart out, and before I knew it, his little head was bobbin’ and his eyes were heavy.
He fought it for a long time, but eventually, he jumped himself to sleep.
Have you ever been so busy that you’ve jumped yourself to sleep? I know I have. There are far too many times when I have been jumping so hard for so long, I can hardly keep my head up and my eyes open. And when I get to the point of this kind of exhaustion, it takes more than Cheerios to coax me into a happier mood.
My church has a practice in our groups ministry that helps protect gals like you and me who have a tendency to over jump ourselves. They encourage “rhythms of rest.” Simply put, there are intentional breaks in our small group calendar that are intended for us to put our meetings on hold for a season and rest. I have found this practice to be life-giving and an amazing protective measure from burnout.
If you’re like me and you’ve been jumping since August, it may be time for you to start practicing “rhythms of rest.”
Here are 4 ways to begin practicing rhythms of rest in your ministry:
- Plot your rhythm
Grab your calendar and take a look at the big picture. Think about the various events and activities you have going on in each season. When you find a season that’s particularly busy and feels a bit “jumpy,” the time right after that is a great place to plot a rhythm of rest. Communicate the importance to your group and encourage them to do the same!
- Clear & protect your calendar
If you’re really going to rest, that means you’re going to have to clear and protect your calendar. This means you will likely have to say no. It won’t be easy, but it is essential to making a habit of resting!
- Be intentional about rest
Carve out intentional time to be with your family and friends. Sleep in a little later. Read that book that’s been on your shelf for over a year. Go for walks and get out in the sunshine! Be intentional to do things during your rhythm of rest that are life-giving to you.
- Rest isn’t just physical
It’s easy to think that all we need is a 2 hour nap, but in reality, rest isn’t just physical. As leaders, we also need emotional and spiritual rest. This is the kind of rest where you soak in the presence of God in study, worship, and prayer. It’s the time where you focus on being a Mary instead of a Martha (Luke 10:38-42).
During your season of rest, ask God to reveal any blind spots you may have and heal any hurt you may be harboring. Take time to evaluate where you’ve been and where you would like to see God move in your personal, professional, and ministry life. And finally, ask God to give you a fresh excitement for His Word and your ministry.
In a few weeks, I’ll enter into a rhythm of rest, and I can’t wait. My legs are tired from all of the jumping I’ve been doing! I’m looking forward to soaking in the presence of God and asking Him what is next for me and my small group!
Take a load off, dear leader. It’s time to rest.
Mickey Pitts serves as a Marriage & Family Strategist for LifeWay Christian Resources. She is passionate about equipping couples with tools to help their marriages and families thrive. Mickey loves ministering to women and coaches women’s Bible study leaders in her local church. Mickey and her husband Reed live in Spring Hill, TN with her 7 year old stepson, Landon, and a crazy Wheaten Terrier named Dexter.