Pastor, Are You Too Busy to Rest? by Keri Wyatt Kent
My articles for Building Church Leaders are all about caring for your soul, nurturing your relationship with God. I’m convinced that most of us just soldier on, and don’t really think about caring for ourselves. We’re busy caring for our families, earning a living, leading at church. We care for the people or children we lead, our families, friends, but we back burner our own needs.
Suppose you decided you needed to improve your physical health. How would you do it? Perhaps you’d read a book on diet and exercise, even talk to a personal trainer. Or, you might just decide to skip desserts and go for a walk every day. You know that reading a book or even talking to an expert will only get you so far–you have to put the advice into practice in order to see change.
How is your spiritual health? Can you even tell? Ministry productivity doesn’t necessarily equal spiritual health, especially if productivity is the result of working too much or ignoring relationships in order to accomplish tasks. Church attendance isn’t necessarily a way to measure spiritual health, although going to church regularly can help us grow.
To improve our spiritual health, then, we must begin with honest assessment: What do we need? Where are things “broken” or unhealthy? What steps would put us back on track?
Spiritual practices like prayer, study, service, worship–all these feed our souls. But so does a practice that seems like a non-practice: rest. It’s an interesting soul care strategy, perhaps one we should pay attention to. In the midst of a hectic and productive ministry season, Jesus told his disciples, “Come away by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
Jesus invited his disciples to care for their souls. He is inviting you to the same thing. Perhaps you can’t hear him above the din, or you just murmur, “I couldn’t possibly …”
Keri Wyatt Kent is a speaker and retreat leader, and the author of nine books, including Deeper into the Word: Reflections on 100 Words from the New Testament. She is a founding member of Redbud Writers Guild. Connect with Keri and read her blog at keriwyattkent.com.