Often with success comes non-stop work, and if it goes on unchecked it can lead to burnout, depression, and a crash. This happens a lot in ministry because we set an unrealistic pace for ourselves.. Always rushing from one thing to another, one deadline after another. We justify it by saying that we’re doing the Lord’s work.
We say “The devil never takes a day off so why should I” I heard a great response to that from a very wise person who said, “I don't really think that the devil should be our example”.
The Bible calls those who will not work lazy;
Proverbs 13:4 (NLT)4 Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper.
But it calls those who will not rest disobedient
Of the Ten Commandments the one that God spent the most time explaining was the one on rest.
Exodus 20:8-11 (NLT)8 “Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.9 You have six days each week for your ordinary work,10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the LORD your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you.11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.
Create A God-Space And Recharge
In a recent study based on the book, Prayer: Does It Make A Difference by Philip Yancey, I learned of how to create a God-space. A God-space is a place where you shut out all the noise, and it’s just you and God. It’s a space filled with God’s presence and nothing else. Your God-space can be anywhere and at anytime. It can be your bedroom, your bathroom, or your prayer closet. It can even be when you are walking down the street or surrounded by a group of people. You can shut them all out and still be aware of everything that’s going on around you. It take practice to learn to create your personal God-space but when there it’s just you and God. I’m not talking about some New Age or Eastern religious mystic thing. I’m talking about being filled by the Holy Spirit. He does the recharging.
Ephesians 5:18-20 (NLT)18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit,19 singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts.20 And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In your God-space you can even “stop time”. I don’t mean that time actually stops. Here’s something else I learned in that study. The author Philip Yancey has a chapter section Stopping Time”. In it Philip talks about a surgeon, Anthony Bloom, who after his conversion to Christianity, and many years as a surgeon, became a priest. He describes in his book “Beginning to Pray” , about a technique that he used for creating his God-space. He calls “stopping time”. The practice of stopping time gradually transformed Bloom’s life with God. He concentrated on living in the present, recognizing that the past is irremediably gone and the future is irrelevant, because who knows whether it will happen or not.
He started by just stopping everything that he was doing for short periods of time during the day. One minute, two minutes, five minutes, ten minutes. He just shut out everything. Just a short time of quietness. It could be in prayer or just being quiet. The first thing that he noticed, and we should take note of this ourselves, the world didn’t stop. His medical practice didn’t fall apart. For us whatever it is that is waiting to be done will wait. After these quiet times he was more efficient when he went back to the tasks at hand.
Anthony Bloom’s example is a good one but the best is the example of Jesus who often removed Himself from the hustle and bustle of ministry and took time to recharge.
Matthew 14:21-23 (NLT)21 About 5,000 men were fed that day, in addition to all the women and children!22 Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home.23 After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.
Luke 5:15-16 (NLT)15 But despite Jesus’ instructions, the report of his power spread even faster, and vast crowds came to hear him preach and to be healed of their diseases.16 But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.
Luke 6:12 (NLT)12 One day soon afterward Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night.
In an excerpt from her book Pressing Pause Ruth Schwenk writes about how using Jesus as our example we can recharge.
You should take comfort in knowing that even Jesus, God in the flesh, needed solitude. He, too, knew the busyness of a life in demand. People were always pulling and tugging at Him. The needs were endless. And so He routinely withdrew to “lonely places” (Luke 5:16). He got away. Slowed down. In all of the giving, He got away to be fed by His Father.
Jesus knew and practiced the discipline of solitude. He, too, knew the busyness of a life in demand. People were always pulling and tugging at Him. The needs were endless. And so He routinely withdrew to “lonely places” (Luke 5:16). He got away. Slowed down. In all of the giving, He got away to be fed by His Father.
Jesus knew and practiced the discipline of solitude.
Before He started His public ministry, He spent forty days in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). Before making important decisions, like choosing the twelve disciples, He spent time alone (Luke 6:12; Mark 1:35). After some of His miracles, He found solitude (Matthew 14:23; Luke 5:16). And, of course, just before Jesus would go to the cross for our sins, He spent some time alone with His Heavenly Father (Matthew 26:36-46).
Are you feeling worn-out right now? There’s no guilt in getting away. Solitude is a gift God gives us so we can recharge and refill. If we don’t spend time away and time alone, the self-neglect can be dangerous.
One of the greatest things you can do for your own soul is find solitude.
Father, give me time today to be alone with You. Give me the wisdom to carve out space and time to stop. Help me to push pause and be quiet. Refresh me today. Renew my strength. Pour into me so that I can pour out to my family. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Do you ever feel guilty for wanting some alone time? Why?
Where in your schedule will you carve out solitude this week? Even ten minutes count.
Jesus was purposeful about His solitude. What can you do during your times of solitude to truly recharge?
Excerpted with permission fromPressing Pause by Karen Ehman and Ruth Schwenk, copyright Karen Ehman and Ruth Schwenk. Published by Thomas Nelson
This blog is for you! If you have any questions or topics you would like me to address please use the comments section or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Donald Jacobs is an ordained minister with the spiritual gift of teaching. He is the Associate Pastor of a non-denominational church in Los Angeles, CA.