the shape of leadership

A Time to Rest

The power of the Sabbath principle in today’s busy world

Kent Ingle on September 23, 2019

Highly successful individuals are always searching for the next great way to optimize their lives. The truth is, one of the best ways to increase your productivity is right at your fingertips, and it’s something we’ve probably all struggled with at some point.

I believe rest is the key to not only surviving but thriving in your leadership, in your life and in your commitment to Christ.

In today’s culture, few associate down time with strength or success. We’re hesitant to prioritize rest for fear we will be less productive. If we do take a break, we may feel guilty. Perhaps these attitudes help explain why we’re so tired. A lack of sleep among U.S. workers costs approximately $411 billion and results in a loss of 1.2 million working days annually, according to a study by the nonprofit RAND Corporation.

Church services, meetings, school events and other nonnegotiables will always be a part of the life of Christian leaders, but we must still learn to say “no.” Having the ability to navigate decisions and prioritize your health is a sign of strength, not weakness.

One of the biggest misconceptions is that to succeed, you must work without ceasing. There is value in taking a moment to stop, rest, listen to the voice of God, and reflect.

I have known a number of talented business leaders who failed to reach their potential because they did not know when to take intentional time for themselves to reset. They spread themselves too thin, lost motivation, and headed toward burnout. As a result, less qualified and talented people surpassed them.

There is value in taking a moment to stop, rest, listen to the voice of God, and reflect.

Many people use the excuse, “I don’t have time to rest.” But overworking leads to exhaustion and eventually overflows into other areas of life. Stress levels rise, increasing the risk of physical, mental, and even spiritual problems.

Taking a moment to rest and recoup can drastically improve your life. View your moments of rest as an essential investment instead of a choice. It will pay off mentally, spiritually, emotionally and physically down the road. Moments of intentional rest will recharge your mind and give you a renewed ability to handle your relationships, schedule and health.

In our fast-paced way of life, we can forget that rest isn’t just healthy for us, it is a biblical principle (Exodus 20:8; Psalm 46:10; Matthew 11:28; Mark 6:31). While Sundays are work days for most ministry leaders, it’s important to find time for our own Sabbath. We need to carve out space for refreshing our souls.

Unplugging from social media, turning off the TV, and tuning in to the peace of God is essential not only for our mental health, but also for our relationship with Him. Too many of us take on more than is required and fail to allow the Lord to make our burdens light when we don’t obey Him in what is a wise and practical command.

If you are one of the many who feel caught up in a life of busyness, take time to identify activities that recharge you, moments that reset your spirit. Whether it is one day, an entire week, or a few moments each day, choose a specific time to rest, reflect and rejuvenate. This time is essential to contentment, as well as our health and faith.

There is a direct correlation between your spiritual and mental health. When you learn to balance the two, you choose not only to respect yourself and the people in your life, but ultimately to honor God with entire obedience.

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