Today is Monday. And I didn’t have to work. Say what?! My hours were recently changed at work for the sole purpose of giving me Monday’s off. Holla! Haha sorry I went a little ghetto on you but it makes me very excited. Here’s the story of how it happened:
A few weeks ago I had my yearly review. Which was terrifying for no other reason then it’s still a new process to me. No one had ever said anything to make me think that this was going to be a terrible experience, on the contrary those around me at my job where a fountain of edification about my part of the team. But, like most of you, I can be my own worse critique and since I really like my job and I’m an achiever I really wanted to do my very best. Anyways… the review ended up being amazing. Seriously, we started with prayer… which was a thank you to God for me and a prayer for me, then we talked about what we had expected over the year and blah blah blah. I’m sure you don’t really want me to get into detail about all that, just know they built me up and encouraged me. Well at the end of the review they offered for me to change my hours, an hour earlier and a half hour later, so that I could have Mondays off. They wanted to give me a day that was going to be a day of rest to me. Seriously, whose job does that? Well mine does and I quickly took them up on that because, well it was needed. Church and youth group on Sunday means that I’m practically a zombie on Monday. Not effective for work or for my own sanity.
Well after deciding this one of my bosses went on a trip for 2 weeks and I experienced two of the most stretching and stressful weeks ever. To the point that in the two weeks I cried twice. At work. And in front of two of my bosses. Can you say, EMBARRASSING?! I was mortified that they saw my stress manifest in that way. Now I’m used to crying because let’s be honest I’m emotional. Always have been and always will be. I love deeply and I feel deeply. I was created this way and I have learned to accept it. Jesus has been molding me so that I am no longer ruled by my emotions but He has also shown me the depth of caring that I hold when I allow Him to rule over my emotions instead of running away.
Anyways. I cried. Twice. At work. Yikes! But since those two, very stressful weeks today was my second Monday off. And what a change I feel. Weird isn’t it that an extra day of refreshing rest would make my whole being light up.
At the beginning of October I had the distinct pleasure and honor of being at an event where Wayne Cordeiro shared with some of the leaders within our Foursquare district. If you have never heard of Wayne Cordeiro please look him up, you won’t be disappointed. I was blessed by the wisdom that he shared with us and the impression I left with that he had walked both the high places and the trenches with Jesus. He knew the ups and downs, the hard and less hard, the joy and pain of ministry. He knew about the moving through the motions and He knew the moving prompted by the urge of God. And I was so thankful that He would share what God had deposited inside of Him and taught him with us.
One of the topics that He talked about was the idea of a Sabbath. Now I need to share that the idea of a Sabbath being a spiritual discipline wasn’t new to me. It was something that I learned in college and that God really challenged me on. Since moving to NH I not only have Saturday as a Sabbath… most of the time, but I also try to stay home on Wednesday nights. It’s easy to be out every night of the week with friends and ministry but the Lord prompted me to take an extra night at home because He wanted to “deposit” into me. Okay back to Wayne, he went further than just talking about the idea of a Sabbath as a day of rest and talked about the idea of God giving us rest in the midst of our circumstances. That it wasn’t about being removed from what was bringing us stress or what we were working on but instead it was bringing us rest in the midst of. Isn’t that amazing! It’s because God isn’t ruled by the things that we are ruled by. Oh no! Instead He uses what wouldn’t otherwise be used to refresh. How refreshing! (see what I did there? ;])
Wayne also talked about how the more we are being drained and the more we are being stressed the more that we need to be poured back into. And when I say drained I don’t mean in a bad sense, but what I mean is that when you are in ministry especially as a pastor you are almost always pouring out. The more ministry you do and the more that God expands what is being poured out of you the more you need to have poured into you. If you aren’t being poured into then you will have nothing to pour out. But in our human nature we think the more that is being poured out means we don’t have time to be poured into and we begin to cut things out. Yikes. If we do that then we won’t have anything to give on any level. We become shells. Empty and devoid of anything but the dry cracked bottom of our pail to pour out. And let’s face it, the dry cracked bottom of our pail is nothing if it isn’t a poison to our soul and whoever we pour that into. Hence the need for a Sabbath. God knows us. The Sabbath wasn’t something to be forced onto us as another thing to bear but instead it was the rest in the midst that we needed. And I don’t know about you but I sure do need it.
And so my Mondays are my new discovery into what fills me. Because the cry of my heart is that I may be overflowing so that I can pour out more. The more I have the more I have to give. I see on my very near horizon an expanding of what I am doing. The ministry that I am to put my hands to and this season is a preparation. I see an expanse of personal areas and ministry areas and the past year has been a time of preparing. Just as a farmer goes out into the field and prepares it before planting and then tends to the garden by fertilizing and weeding along the way, this past year has been such a time. But I see a time of growth about to happen. But if I’m not careful to continue to tend to the garden what would have been a harvest will only be a dry show where life should have been. My Mondays are those times of careful tending and I will fiercely guard this time that the Lord has given to me.
Do you have a time of rest within the business of our lives? Do you have a Sabbath? I challenge you first to spend sometime in the word studying this idea of the Sabbath and rest. Why is it important biblically but also for us as we were created to be? And then spend some time reflecting on what gives you rest and pours into who you are.