How to Embrace Rest Post-Covid
Do you find yourself often saying, “I’m just so busy and tired” when asked how you’re doing? In ministry especially, it’s easy to view our schedules as competitive. We want to fill every waking moment with intentionality, and can be quick to view downtime as laziness or as shirking our responsibilities and calling.
But God is passionate about rest. In fact, he’s so passionate about it that he devoted an entire commandment to Sabbath rest. He knows our human tendency to over-work and made sure to warn us against it. Rest is part of your calling, and neglecting it both disobeys God and keeps you from doing ministry in your full capacity.
"Rest is part of your calling, and neglecting it both disobeys God and keeps you from doing ministry in your full capacity."
As we enter into a post-lockdown world, we are coming out of an exhausting season. A lot of us are feeling weary emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. As the burden of COVID is lifted, it’s important to rest now in order to avoid the burnout that so many are beginning to feel. Here are our suggestions for ways to rest this summer, so that you can be obedient to your calling and recover from months of fatigue.
Take Intentional Time Away From Work
Even if you are confident that your job is part of your calling, work is not the entirety of your purpose. Take time away from your job - whether that’s through a sabbatical, finally using your days off, or simply taking a weekend to shut your computer and not open it again until Monday morning - to devote to the other aspects of your calling and identity. Take time to foster healthy relationships within your family and your community. Recuperate from the long and arduous season of complexity that COVID created, and make sure you are intentionally fostering healthy habits and relationships in your personal life. If Jesus took time to step away from the crowds, rest, and pray, you certainly should too.
Set Boundaries to Prevent Over-Extension
If you picked up extra responsibilities at the onset of COVID to keep your organization afloat, it might be time to finally delegate those elsewhere. If you’ve been putting in overtime and your organization is finally healthy enough to no longer need it, deliberately logout of all devices during certain hours of the day when you want to prioritize rest. Have clear conversations with your teams about what you do and do not have the bandwidth for in your workload. Prioritize the work that you actually need to be doing and do it well, rather than doing lots of peripheral work that isn’t as essential.
During the height of COVID lockdowns, work became frantic as businesses, organizations, and ministries weren’t sure if they would be able to stay afloat. As things begin to level out again and the status of your organization becomes less teetering, ensure that you set clear, healthy boundaries of what your work will look like going forward. If you continue the same patterns that you’ve developed over the past year and a half, you will likely reach burnout soon, which does no good for yourself or your organization.
Create Goals To Steward Your Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual Self Well
You may often hear the phrase, “you can’t pour from an empty cup.” As cheesy as it may sound, it rings true, especially in ministry. If you don’t take time for your own wellness, you cannot adequately fulfill your mission. Create a few goals that help you look inward to see if you’re stewarding your mental, emotional, and spiritual self well.
These goals may include:
Quiet time: are you spending regular time in the study of and meditation of Scripture?
Family time: are you leading and loving each member of your family well?
Prayer: are you intentionally setting aside time to talk to God?
Fellowship: do you fellowship with other trusted leaders who understand you and can pour into you, as well as point out when you are in need of rest?
Taking time to pursue each of these things will help maintain your mental, emotional, and spiritual health, and will equip you to fulfill your calling well.
Summer brings with it time for rest and recuperation, and as we enter slowly into what may be a post-COVID world, do not miss this opportunity to replenish yourself. Rest is a Biblical commandment, not a weakness. Choose to steward your body, mind, and soul well rather than continuing patterns that will lead to burnout and, ultimately, failure.
Fall will bring ample opportunity to begin implementing the lessons learned over the past year, but investing in rest during the summer is critical to allow you the space to process these lessons and ensure you have restored passion, clarity, and fresh vision for this new season.
For more on the importance of rest, check out this blog on why sabbaticals are critical to avoiding burnout.