What If ‘Too Busy’ Wasn’t the Standard?

You know the drill—especially before, during and after busy ministry seasons… “How are you doing?”someone asks. “Surviving,” you reply. “Juggling too much of everything!” That’s typically true and feels “correct.” But imagine if, instead, you replied: “I’m great! Fully rested.”

Ever heard that kind of reply from your boss or co-worker? Is that even allowed? Would any senior pastor or church staffer you know answer this way? Maybe you’d get away with it once or twice before someone would counter: “Well, THAT must be nice! I’m constantly busy!” Perhaps you’d apologize for being rested: “Well, I’m usually busy. Just not right now.”

There’s an ongoing pressure to honor busyness over rest. In Andy Stanley’s book Choosing To Cheat, the North Point  Community Church pastor points out that no one gets an extra allotment of time, so we must choose who we will “cheat” moments away from. It’s like handing your family, church, or friends a large rock to hold while you’re off tending to other people. How long will that last before the rock-holders decide their burden is too heavy to bear and drop it, resenting you in the process? That’s an exhausting way to live.

Even worse, it often feels like God is urging us to stay busy. When Jesus defines what it means to follow Him, He asks us to deny ourselves and take up our cross. Paul talks about exhausting his body for the sake of ministry, and urges us to make the most of every opportunity.

On the other hand, after Paul’s conversion experience he lingered in the home of his host before entering into public ministry. And we know that he found opportunities for rest and restoration in the midst of his missionary work, particularly in Antioch. Likewise, Jesus often retreated from the crowds and His own disciples to recharge and spend time alone with His Father. And He urged those who would follow Him to find strength in their weariness by “taking on His yoke,” which would feel “easy” and “light” to us.

So, where do we find ourselves in the tension between these two realities? If we make our own busyness, can we make our own rest?

Let’s pay attention to the habits of Jesus, who modeled a way of living and working that honors life in the Kingdom of God.

  • Sabbath is embedded in our ongoing rhythm – Jesus routinely walked away from the “job” to simply be the “Son” (Luke 5:16). He also planned soul-nurturing seasons that included fasting and prayer and space for intimacy with His Father. If we are following Jesus, we’ll attune our own rhythms to His. We need regular quiet spaces that prompt us invite God to helps us remember who we are, and whose we are. Life is shouting at us—everything is an emergency. But God is singing to us—that the universe runs on Him, and not us.
  • Discover your safe space – What are your favorite places for reset and restoration—places where you give yourself permission to not produce for others? Maybe it’s an old musty couch in the basement, or exercising at the gym, or sipping iced tea on your deck. Find a place that can serve as a sacred space for your soul. Make it your personal retreat space. Be there, notice God there.
  • Make divine conversation a staple in your life – Spending time with God doesn’t require a formula—simply remember that prayer is a two-way conversation. Share your heart with Him, and let Him share His heart with you. When you walk in creation, remember there’s a passionate Creator wanting to spend time with you.

Jesus didn’t work in order to rest, but chose to rest in order to work. What would it look like to follow Him in this way? When we are “familying the faith” in our ministry, encouraging and equipping parents (and people like parents) to maximize their faith-forming influence in their kids’ lives, we’re also modeling the Sabbath mentality of Jesus. To explore what that looks like, check out Vibrant Faith’s new podcast Familying the Faith.

And if you would like help as you explore what it means to shift your ministry standard from “too busy” to “well-balanced,” reach out to connect with a Vibrant Faith Ministry Leadership Coach. Just CLICK HERE for more information. Coaching is an intentional process that moves you forward into the future you long for.  

Tony Myles is a multi-faceted ministry veteran, conference speaker
, and author with a passion for all people and the future of the church. He has a Master’s Degree from Indiana Wesleyan University. And he’s
been trained as a Coach through Vibrant Faith’s ICFcertified program.





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