In an earlier blog, we shared some of the practical ways you can choose to rest this summer. This month, we have chosen to lean into the topic of rest. We want to help provide you with the tools you need to best fulfill your mission and calling, and rest is a critical tool in your arsenal that should not be neglected.
But why exactly are we choosing to discuss rest now? Yes, the world is always exhausting, and it seems we’re always tired. However, there are a few distinct reasons why rest is so critical for you to pursue in this specific season. We are in a unique period of transition out of a global crisis, and that brings with it its own set of challenges. Rather than trying to bulldoze forward into a new season, consider these reasons why you need to embrace rest:
Readjusting to In-Person Events
Over the last few months, you have likely had your first few “normal” feeling events- Easter, Mother’s Day, and Memorial Day, with Father’s Day approaching- and you might be feeling the exhaustion. Though many of us could not wait for the return of celebrations and social gatherings, their arrival means more planning, meal-prepping, face-to-face conversing, and leaving of our homes than we have grown used to. It’s important to clarify that you can be overjoyed to hug your loved ones and have a good cookout again, while also acknowledging that in-person events are tiring and require recuperation.
Another Wave of Transition
And as we have begun to transition back to long-awaited in-person events, you may have begun to feel a new kind of exhaustion. You might have adjusted to the schedules and routines of working from home, celebrating virtually, and finding community online, and are now having to readjust back to the new, new “normal.” Returning to in-person events doesn’t come naturally- it requires you to work out social and emotional muscles that have changed over the last year and a half. And navigating what you feel is safe for you and your family’s health and wellbeing is emotionally draining. The past two years have brought with them massive transitions. Allow yourself to reflect on how you have dealt with these transitions, and how they affected your wellbeing. If you are experiencing burnout and exhaustion, you cannot fulfill your calling to your best capacity. Allow yourself time to reflect, acknowledge where you are feeling burnt out, and choose to rest rather than to simply keep moving forward endlessly.
The Summer Ministry Lull
In many churches and ministries, summer acts as a brief lull before fall revamps everything. Many churches see a drop in attendance numbers during the summer and build things up again in the fall. Now is the time to rest, reflect, and recuperate before mass returns and in-person event relaunches in the fall. Rather than using the less-busy summer as a time to frantically prepare for the end-of-summer craziness, choose to intentionally use it to fill up your cup so that you can adequately pour from it when the busy fall comes. Plan for re-launches and in-person events, but give yourself time away from that planning to fulfill God’s mandate to rest in order to realign your purpose with His will.
Recuperating from a Crazy Year
There’s no denying that the past year has been an abnormal one. Following a pandemic, an election, political and social strife, masking and unmasking mandates, quarantining and returning to in-person, you may feel emotional whiplash or burnout or a combination of both. In our eagerness to return to “normal,” we may find ourselves rushing ahead rather than allowing ourselves to process the stress of the past year and a half. Emotional, physical, psychological, and spiritual wellness all require that you take time to reflect and recuperate. Take time to sit down and ask yourself reflective questions about the past year and a half. These questions may include:
- Where have you really struggled in the past year, mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually?
- What have you lost that you need to allow yourself to grieve?
- What have you accomplished that you need to allow yourself to celebrate?
- What lessons have you learned?
- Where have you seen God move? And
- How can your personal ministry grow and change in light of the last year?
After asking yourself these questions, do not immediately jump back into action. Give yourself time to process and learn so that you can realistically apply them going forward.
The culmination of all the transitions currently underway could quickly lead you to burnout. Rather than allowing these things to overwhelm you, be proactive in prioritizing rest. If you wait for a recess from the chaos to come on its own, you will never have a break. Rest is something you have to deliberately make space for. In this season, choose to nurture your wellbeing, your soul, and ultimately, the kingdom’s purpose.
As you walk into the lull of Summer months, how are you making an intentional effort to pause in God’s presence?