Why Rest is Good for Human Care

This post reflects some thoughts on rest as well as being one of several you may come across around the internet in the coming months about an extraordinary gathering of believers in Austin, Texas this September called The Idea Camp.  A few of my friends will be there and because I believe in what they are doing, I will be blogging a bit about it now and then.

Early in the Old Testament, the book of Leviticus lays down the law so the people of Israel would benefit as they move forward in the beginning of this great story we find ourselves in. God instructs Moses to tell people to work really hard for a time and then take a season of rest. The point of the rest was to enjoy the fruit of their labor and also to see it is God, who ultimately provides and makes things grow.

This concept of rest created by God is to serve as a tangible reminder that He doesn’t actually need our help. Rather, He has invited us into participate with Him in this movement of restoration where He is in fact working all the time.

Rest.  Selah.

Even the law of rest is one God knows is difficult for us to keep in our self-driven, I-can-do-it-all-by-myself human nature.

 Enter grace.

Jesus came to put flesh and blood to the words of God. His life through the pages of scripture teaches us even the Son of God needed time to withdraw to lonely places to pray {Luke 5:16} .   Though not for a whole year, Jesus made sure He took time to step away from the situation and let God refuel Him.

He also extends to us an invitation to rest by saying:

“Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest…rest for your souls.”

In addition to being a wife and mom, on a daily basis I get to serve alongside a community of people who are living real life.  I’ve been on church staff for eleven years and this summer, the elders are giving me a gift of rest. A sabbatical.  Permission and time to step away from the situation and unplug from day-to-day ministry and church life to rest.

I wish more churches would see the value of allowing their leaders to have appropriate times of rest. Time to spend with their families without the distraction of ministry and a season when it’s okay to not pick up the phone, not read emails, and yes…even stay home from church.

IC-Banner1This fall, the Idea Camp community will be reuniting in Austin to focus both on caring for others and caring for those who care.  Although I can’t join them in Texas, I want to support this theme of Human Care where the conversations will revolve around how we are taking care of people inside and outside of the church. Guides, instead of speakers, will initiate the dialog on how we have failed and succeeded as well as how we care for those who care. No doubt, compassion fatigue and ministry burnout are common not just for those in vocational ministry but also those who volunteer faithfully.

The Church is not just an organization.  It is a messy collective of people through whom Jesus intends to bring life, hope and peace to a broken world.  But the tricky part for us is, we can drive people and ourselves to the place where we think it’s up to us.  We slowly take control, we carry the burdens that are way too heavy and lose sight of Who we are actually serving… and we get tired.

What I am looking forward most to this summer is becoming more grounded in my perspective that I belong to Christ no matter what I do, how well I do it and who notices.  My identity and worth is found in only in the grace of Jesus.  If I lose sight of this, I am no good to myself or anyone around me.

If you are one who cares for humans, particularly those who are vulnerable, check out what the Idea Camp has planned in September.  It’s good for you and it’s good for those you serve.

Is it difficult for you to disengage so you can refuel? Have you ever faced compassion fatigue? Do you have any sabbatical tips for me? How do you think the Church can improve on caring for those who care?

Register here for Idea Camp

6 thoughts on “Why Rest is Good for Human Care

  1. Laura Cogan says:

    Rest is not what we get to do when the work is done. Rest is the space we create for our souls, the classroom of silence, the place of intentional connection with the Father. Rest is best appreciated with active intention, more like stepping into the rain than lying fallow. I am wishing and praying and believing that your sabbatical will be water to your soul.

  2. nataliedeyoung says:

    Rest…it goes against our cultural values to an unhealthful level. I have to squeeze it in wherever I can fit it, and I’m amazed at how much I have to justify it to myself and others, when really it’s a necessity. I am glad you are taking time to rest, to avoid burnout, and to refill the well. Enjoy, and don’t let the “should be doings” interfere!

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