To Rest is Human and Holy

March 28th, 2017

I will be the first to say that ministry people, especially cough, youth, cough ministry people, are uber bad at resting. In attending numerous seminars, reading posts on-line and in talking with said youth people, I have discovered that a good many of those in ministry believe that rest = spending the day being “spiritual.”

I am not saying that spending time with God can’t be part of your day off. Wait, let me back up. There are these things called days off and we in ministry are actually allowed to take them. They are 24 hour periods where we are allowed to turn off or shut down our phones/email/Twitter/Facebook/Instagram, lock our doors and do nothing if we so desire. We are encouraged by God to take them in fact – even if your church/minister/parents/teens don’t approve. I am grateful my church does support this but understand many churches do not.

Moving on.

This very subject was addressed in a seminar I attended about 18 months ago. It included a conversation that I have heard repeatedly:

“I read a lot of Scripture on my day off.”

“I spend immense time in prayer.”

“I meditate.”

Now, before I go any further, let me be very, very clear! There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing that on one’s day of rest. These are good things and things that should be done the other six days of the week and not just on your rest day. Prayer, Scripture – all over it. Meditation…if you are easily distracted…squirrel…maybe not so much.

However, after sitting there for some time and hearing these kinds of answers again and again I jumped in – a bit heated – with both feet.

“I think we do ourselves a disservice when ALL we do on our days off is what we do, I hope anyway, all week. What about naps? I work really hard all week and as we all know, ministry is a mental and emotional thing which means I get tired fast. Sometimes…ok fine…most times my day off looks something like this. Get up, go for a run, lay down for a couple hours to nap, lunch, lay down again and watch a movie or read a novel that has NOTHING to do with anything in my job, eat supper and then be lazy till it’s time to get up and go to bed.”

Interestingly enough, the individual monitoring the discussion was a therapist in real life. After the session, he found me in the hallway and thanked me for being upfront about this issue. Maybe the best thing we can do for the kids under our care, so that we ARE at the top of our game during the week, is to take naps, eat food, breathe, and do pretty much nothing else on our day off. He agreed that all too often we jam our days of rest with so much activity that we forget the key ingredient – rest!

[bctt tweet=”All too often we jam our days of rest with so much activity that we forget the key ingredient – rest!” username=”ys_scoop”]

And I have found the more I keep this “schedule” on my day off, the more I have energy during the week because I know that my day of rest will be just that – rest. I have also found that when I don’t consistently rest, I am much more on edge, crabby and/or burst into tears if anyone so much as looks at me funny. Either that or bite an unsuspecting bystander’s head off for a minor infraction.

We were designed, yes designed, to rest. We are humans with the built-in need to rest, not super humans as so many of us and those around us might believe.

So on your next day off, take a nap, grab a cup of coffee and a really good novel you have put off reading, or Netflix the movie that’s been sitting in your queue for six months and rest up!

Sarah Vanderaa is currently serving as a full-time youth director in a church located in the south suburbs of Chicago. She is close to wrapping up her tenth year there and is excited to see what year eleven will bring. On her rest days, she can often be found behind a computer writing and updating her blog, while drinking lots and lots of coffee. In between naps, she still finds time to read novels. You can connect with Sarah through her blog at www.unlockandrelease.tumblr.com or her Facebook page @unlockandrelease.


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