Month: August 2014

How to Take a Day Off

Let’s be honest, most of us do not know how to take a day off without feeling guilty, restless or insecure. As a young pastor, I seldom chilled for a entire day and it almost cost me my marriage, my health and my ministry. Today, I am better at it. Here are some thoughts and suggestions to help all of us unplug and regularly recharge our lives.

1. Use social media just to be social, or avoid it altogether.

2. Go on a date with your spouse, or do something fun with a great friend.

3. Go outside and take a walk or just sit awhile in the sun. The sun recharges our bodies with vitamin D, which protects against a host of health problems.

4. Unless it’s family or one of your close friends, do not answer your phone. Voicemail is a great screening tool.

5. Don’t drink cheap coffee and eat a donut. With sprinkles.

6. Talk about anything but work stuff. Note to pastors – church stuff is work stuff.

7. Wear clothes you would never wear to work. I have an awful set of t-shirts I wear on my day off. Instagram photos will follow as proof.

8. Laugh often. Laughter is a powerful antidote to stress, pain, and conflict. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh.

9. Spend time reading something that will stir your imagination.

10. Hit yourself on the kneecap with a hammer each time you read an email from work. After a couple of emails, you will be forced to lie down and rest.

11. Spend some time completely alone. Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. We should too.

Want more on this topic of rest, sabbath and sustainable rhythms? My new book, Addicted to Busy has just released. It is an encouraging and empowering read for anyone struggling to find solace in a chaotic world.

What do you like to do on a day off? Leave me a comment.

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Reflections from a Summer Sabbatical

My family and I have just returned from a summer sabbatical, thanks to the generosity of my church and its leadership. We traveled, spent time with some family, took long walks together, went on bike rides, slept late, stayed up late, went to bed early, read some books, watched some movies, did some chores around the house and disconnected from work and school. It was one of the best summers of our lives. So, what did I learn from my time away?

1. I really like my family

Ok, I really loved them before the sabbatical, but the fact that we still spoke to one another after a road trip to Florida and back was proof positive that love can survive anything. I will not do that again, but I’m grateful for the six days of driving America’s freeways that produced mostly laughs along the way. The sound of our own wheels did not drive us crazy. In fact, we really enjoyed one another’s company, even when mom and dad belted out 80′s tunes from the radio.

2. I really like my church

The hardest part of the sabbatical was being away from New Life, even though I watched online most Sundays. Being with the tribe of New Lifers is really important to our family and Sundays felt a bit hollow without the hugs and prayers of our congregation. I needed the break from teaching and preaching so my mind could rest and recharge, but I missed that holy moment each Sunday when the crowd becomes a worshipping family and singing prayers lift the rafters. I missed coming to the Lord’s Table together.

3. I really like my team

Most of my friends are people that serve with me at the church. I spent some great time with long-time friends from Texas, lingered with my family in Louisiana and hung out with some pastor friends, but I really missed the day-to-day interaction that only happens with the people who are alongside me in the trenches of local church ministry. Today, I re-entered the routine of coffee and conversations with my cadre. It felt right again. It felt like home, again.

This Sunday, I return to the church I love, teaching the people I admire, in a city and state I adore. It took a summer sabbatical to remind me that I’m right where I need to be, belonging to a family and church that likes one another.

 

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