I came across a terrific piece by Brian Howard of the Sojourn Network a bit ago. It’s entitled “You Have to Stop Working Sometimes,” and it’s well worth your time. This is especially true if you fit the model of the type A, driven, aggressive kind of person, regardless of what kind of field you’re in.
Sometimes the biggest workaholics are in full-time ministry. Shouldn’t be true, but it is.
We need this stuff, people. We need it societally, we need it in the church, and we need it personally. We’re a nation and a people obsessed with work and defined by our jobs. That’s not healthy. Point-blank.
Anyway, here’s Brian’s practical encouragement to leaders:
Take at least a couple of hours each night and don’t work. Hang with your family or friends, do laundry, cook a meal. Don’t allow your mind to enter work mode. Unless you are a doctor on call, turn your work phone off for a couple of hours and rest from work.
Take a minimum of 24 hours each week and do nothing that touches your work. Avoid work email. Don’t enter the state of mind that is work. Recharge in the way that you recharge best. Read a book, exercise, spend time with your family, watch a basketball game, hang out with friends, play ultimate frisbee, go to the movies. But, don’t work!
Take a vacation. It’s OK if you can’t afford to go to Costa Rica. Take the time that is allotted to you and stop working. Put an auto responder on your email. Disconnect from social media, read some fiction, and watch the sunset.Daily, weekly, and periodic time off will re-charge you, keep you healthy, and make you more effective when you do work. What works for you in this area? Comment and get the conversation going.
This is one of the wisest pieces I’ve read in a good long while. My guess is many who read this blog need it. Put these kind of principles into practice. Remember that the Lord himself rested from his work. Not many of us today are strict Sabbatarians, but it seems manifestly wise to observe the kind of day of rest (preferably on Sunday) that Brian suggests. Also, ponder that the gospel itself is rest for our weary souls.
Work is good and a gift of God. It’s fun when you get to the point where your gifts intersect with your calling. With all this said, Christ is our identity, not our work.
Matter of fact, many American ministry leaders should have to say that to themselves ten times before the start of the workday.