5 actions I take when I try to do “nothing”


Almost daily I get an email from a ministry leader who is tired and on the verge of burn out. There is so much about “ministry-world” that is exhausting. I understand this reality… firsthand. It’s real and ugly!

Too many leaders don’t even slow down enough to be faithful to God’s call for a Sabbath rest.

When I was a young leader I received great advice from a mentor who urged me to faithfully guard and protect a weekly day of rest. I’m so grateful for that advice and encouragement! Without intentional action, it’s simply too easy for a leader to slip into justifying non-Sabbath actions like, “I’m just going to pop into the office,” or “I’m so far behind, I just need to catch up” or “They need to spend time with me and I don’t think I can say ‘no’.”

I fully understand that the Sabbath doesn’t come in a one-size-fits-all experience, but for what it’s worth, here’s how I try to approach my day of rest:

I want to experience as many of the following as possible:

Relaxation. I take it easy. I sleep in. I don’t fill the day with a lot of activities. I try to maintain an attitude of rest throughout the day.

Recreation. I usually feel better and accelerate my rest after some form of exercise. It may be at the gym, but it’s usually a long walk or hike with my wife, Cathy.

Relationships. Any time I choose to spend time with someone on my Sabbath, I make sure it’s a relationship that inspires me, breathes into me, and is rewarding for me. No work, just friendship.

Reading. Throughout the week, much of my reading focuses on speaking or sermon preparation, so on my day of rest I usually choose light and fun reading.

Reflection/Restoration. Reflection describes my extended time with God. I’ll usually reflect on the past week, look through my calendar, and think about what I might have missed that God had laid out for me. A busy week usually doesn’t allow me the time for reflection that I want or need. Restoration describes personal soul-care. It’s my time for worship, prayer, silence, Bible, and journaling.

There is no usual order to these areas… I simply try to experience all these throughout the day.

For in six days the LORD made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy. Exodus 20:11


Question: What about you? What do you normally do on your Sabbath? Share it here. 


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