Tag: rest

Work for the rest

At the box where I do Crossfit, we have this concept called “work for the rest.” We do workouts occasionally that are a prescribed amount of time, with a rest, then repeat. So that would look like this:
3 minutes of burpees
1 minute of rest
3 minutes of pull-ups
1 minute of rest
3 minutes of seated row
1 minute of rest

Photo cred: me Photo spot: CrossFitReform.com

Photo cred: me
Photo spot: CrossFitReform.com

So the idea is that you’d sprint the burpees, pull-ups, and the row because you get to rest immediately afterwards and because you’ve got to sprint again. Our coaches are harping on us the whole workout saying, “Work for the rest!” In other words, work so hard that you have to take the rest. Push yourself so hard that you have to stop at the prescribed time in order to rest. Work so hard that you’re gasping for air, barely able to stand up, not-able-to-talk tired. Don’t get to the 60 seconds of rest and think, “I could’ve done a little more.” You’re getting a rest for a reason! You should need it

  • because you’re tired, and you feel like your body is ready to collapse.
  • because you’re not done, and another round is coming in 60 seconds.

Spiritual lives

There are spiritual implications to this concept, too. Our bodies were created to work. And not just any work. We were created to do significant work. Work that matters here and echoes throughout eternity. Work that serves our families. Our communities. Work that gives back. That makes the world a better place.

But we were also called to rest. Rest replenishes our bodies. Helps us refresh. Allows our life rhythms to breathe. (ultimately, the “rest” that the Bible talks about finds its fulfillment in Jesus, who calls us to “rest” from our works: we don’t have to earn our relationship with God. That’s another post for another day.) It shows our dependence on God, as we rest instead of work, acknowledging He’s the one that is in control.

Did you know that we’re commanded to rest? It’s actually one of the 10 commandments:

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. – Exodus 20:8-9

 

We tend to think of disobedience as breaking the law. Doing something “bad.” But the Bible would say we’re being disobedient if we don’t rest.

The bottom line

Here’s what you need to know when it comes to work and rest.

1. Work so hard you need the rest.

Work so hard and so well that your body, soul, and spirit are gasping for air because you’ve given all you’ve got. Work so hard that you can’t go on because you need that rest. And while you’re at it, make yourself indispensable. Become a linchpin.

The Apostle Paul says this:

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men – Colossians 3:23

If you knew what you were doing was “for the Lord,” as in you were receiving a direct instruction from God himself, you’d work a little bit differently. You’d put a little more oomph into those “mundane” tasks. You may show up a little earlier. Stay a little later. Put more creativity in. Share more deeply. Lead more passionately. Give more generously.

Go! Go! Go! The rest is coming. [Tweet that]

2. Rest so well you need to work.

Work well, and take the rest. Let your body, soul, and spirit recover. Find those things that help your soul replenish. For me, that means a few things:

  • No email
  • Time with family
  • Sleep
  • Reading a good book
  • Walks around the lake in my city (“active recovery”)
  • Time with Jesus (reading Scripture, praying, etc.)
  • Coffee with friends
  • Running

Through rest, God breathes life back in to me. I need it, too. I give everything I have to my work. Every ounce of my experience, abilities, passion, and life. So I need a fresh wind every single week. I need Rest. Rest gives me energy, stamina, creativity, and the ability to get back up again. It also reminds me, each and every week, that  in my rest that I show my dependence on God. I could work. Or I could trust God to do the work He’s promised He will. I remind myself that my body’s not my own. The ministry’s not my own. My family’s not my own.

And after rest, I’m ready to go back out. I strive to rest so well that I’m ready to get back at it.

Just recently, a pastor friend of mine stepped down from his leadership role because he was burned out. He’d gone so hard for so long without taking rest for his soul. The scary part for pastors like us is that if we don’t rest well, we could lose the ministry we’re striving so hard to serve. [Tweet that]

When you don’t rest, you’re not ready for what’s coming. You end up producing less, being less available, and having less capacity. You can’t give your all to what’s coming because you’re still trying to run on empty.

So rest. Rest well. Rest hard. That next 3 minute sprint is coming.

Tomorrow’s coming. That next season is coming. That next project is coming. That next ministry opportunity is coming.

Your family needs you. Your friends need you. Your community needs you. And if you’re a pastor, your church needs you.

Not the tired, burned out, rode-hard-and-hung-up-wet you. They need the fresh, Rested you.

 

5 Leadership Lessons I Learned from a Torn Quad

Recently while working out at CrossFit, I ripped my quad.

It hurt about as much as you’d expect ripping a quadriceps muscle would hurt. Unless, of course, you thought it wouldn’t hurt at all. In which case…it hurt much more than that.

image via: http://www.flickr.com/photos/crossfitpulse/

I was doing a kip-up, a martial arts-style move where you “jump” from your back all of the way on to your feet. I made it to my feet, and in that moment, all of the energy transferred to my already-weakened quads, and I instantly felt the pain shoot through my legs.

I sat down for a minute, trying my hardest not to throw up. And trying to act like I was ok. One of the trainers came over to check on me. “You’re probably just tight…and when I’m tight, I just take my fist and pound down my leg like this…” at which point he punched me in my leg. I crumpled to the ground like a man with a torn quad would if punched in said torn quad.

It’s taken me a week to get back to the gym. I’m not nearly at 100%…just close nough to fake my way around.

In the process, I learned a lot about life and leadership.

5 Leadership Lessons I Learned from an Injury

1. Stretching is vital.

If I’d stretched a bit more, I may have prevented my injury. Or at the very least, stretching would’ve reminded me that my quad was still weak.

In leadership: Before major decisions, take a moment to breathe. Before you blow up on a co-worker, stop and check your heart. Before you move forward, take a moment to look back. Before you start your day, spend a few moments in prayer. It’ll remind you who you are, where you’re headed, and that you’ve got a loving Father who wants to guide and shape you every step of the way.

2. Know your limits.

Apparently, kip-ups are above my pay grade. For now. 🙂

In leadership: “Knowing your limits” means understanding your gifts and your weaknesses. And learning, when you’re weak, to surround yourself with others who are gifted. Don’t be prideful. Know your limits. And know that you don’t have every gift necessary.

3. Sometimes, you just have to slow down.

When I was injured, I couldn’t go to the gym. Well, I could’ve gone, but it wouldn’t have done any good. I would’ve had to sit out the majority of the workouts.

In leadership: Organizational life can move at a fast pace, and if you don’t intentionally slow down, remind yourself of what matters most, doing what only you can do, and resting, you’ll burn out. God created the Sabbath because we need it. Which is also why, I believe, He created the hammock. Sabbathing should be a part of your weekly workflow. It’s vital, whether you’re “injured,” or just want to prevent “injuries.”

4. Allow others to help you.

I had to ask for help while I was injured. I needed help across the gym floor. At home, I needed help getting ice packs ready and, at times, just doing normal activities.

In leadership: To try to lead alone is foolish. God has hard-wired us to need others. He’s created us to be dependent on Him…and dependent on other people. Don’t forsake the gift that significant relationships play in your life. Alone, you’re prone to giving up, prone to always thinking you’re right, and only have 1 life experience to draw from. Together, you collaborate, refine processes, and draw from multiple life experiences.

5. Healing takes time.

It’s taken me a week to get back to the gym. It’ll probably take me a month or more before I’m back to pushing myself.

In leadership: When you’ve been injured, whether by relationships, broken dreams, or your own bad choices, it takes time to heal. The same is true for those you’re leading. Don’t expect that you, or anyone else, can recover immediately. It might be awkward, but ask for help! Surround yourself with people who know and love you best. You might not like mine, but find a small group. And pursue active healing.

Question:

Ever torn a muscle?

 

 

10 Things You Forget About Pastors

I had the chance to preach at Grace this past Sunday. What a gift it was.

apparently, I said something I thought was funny

And what a hard week it was.

Every time I get the call to preach, I forget just how much work it is to prepare until the Wednesday before I preach on Sunday. It’s at that point, when I’m on my 5th rewrite, my 10th bottom line, and my 4th, “I have no idea what I’m going to say” thought for the week.

In the process of preparing and delivering the sermon yesterday, I realized that there are a few things that people often forget about preachers. In fact, I’ve found exactly 10 things that are often forgotten.

10 Things You Forget about Pastors

1. Preaching is a lot of work.

In fact, it takes me between 20-30 hours to prepare my sermon. On top of that, I still have my normal, weekly responsibilities. Last time I checked, adding 30 hours to a work week was a pretty significant amount. The best sermons take time to marinate. Which means that if you enjoyed the sermon…it probably took longer than normal to prepare.

2. Preaching is stressful.

If you mess up in your job, your boss might get upset with you. If we mess up…God is upset with us. I’d rather get the stink eye from your boss than mine any day. 🙂

3. Preaching has a lot of moving parts.

We feel the weight of preaching the Scriptures faithfully, in an engaging way, every time. We have to balance humor, theology, and application, making sure to pepper in just the right number of illustrations, but not too many so that people remember the illustration and not the Truth. That’s a lot to balance on a small stage.

4. We don’t always have it all figured out.

We don’t know it all. Or have all of the answers. Or have every truth we’re preaching on mastered. Growing up, I assumed that my pastor knew everything. Now that I’m in that role, I realize that we don’t.

5. We get worn out, too.

Delivering a sermon is physically, emotionally, and spiritually draining. Expect that we’ll be pretty zapped afterwards. After all, “they” say that delivering a sermon is equivalent to 8 hours of work.

6. If you tell us some important detail on a Sunday morning, we’ll probably forget it.

Feel free to tell us, but follow that up with an email. We’ll thank you later. It’s not that we don’t care in the moment…it’s that our minds are racing, and we often have hundreds of thoughts and ideas we’re wrestling with.

7. Preaching is a gift, but it doesn’t always feel that way.

Some days, it feels more like work. I’d love to say that every time we preach, the heavens open up and God gives us great joy in the preparation and in the delivery. But I’d be lying…sometimes it doesn’t feel like a gift.

8. Criticisms need to wait.

Seriously, if you have a bone to pick, call us on Tuesday. We’ll be in a much better spot to handle criticism then, than on your way out the door on Sunday.

9. We see you texting.

Don’t act like you’ve listened to our sermon…we know better.

10. We have to do it all again next week.

Most preachers preach every week. In fact, most preachers preach on Sunday, Sunday night, and then again on Wednesday night. The work of a pastor is never done.

Question:

Have you ever preached? Do any of these resonate with you?

 

 

 

 

Why we love the hammock

You love a good hammock. Don’t even tell me you don’t.

image credit: me, in my backyard

Everyone loves a hammock. And I know why.

It’s reminiscent of a bygone era. One that was slower. And more relaxed. One that didn’t include 80 hour work weeks. One that didn’t include 4 nights of gymnastics/week. One that didn’t include having to eat fast food so many times.

One that didn’t have to fire up your computer late at night to catch up on emails. One that wasn’t conflicted between playing with your kids and doing work.

One that did include family nights. And laughing together over a freshly brewed pot of coffee.

One that included reading a book by a crackling, warm fire.

One that was much more relaxing.

A hammock beckons us to what could be.

The hammock has two purposes:

1. Cradle you like a baby.

2. Fling you to the ground if you try to not be cradled like a baby.

 In a hammock, you can’t do much but relax. You may be able to read a book. Or take a nap.

But squirm much, and you’ll flop right to the ground. Twist a little more than the traditional “nap” position and the hammock won’t take it. It’ll spin you right on to the hard ground below. “No!” says the hammock. “That meeting can wait!” “That email will still be there in 30 minutes!” “That YouTube video is hilarious…but I’ll break your iPad if you try to watch it right now.”

A hammock reminds us

Of our God-given desire for rest. Fight against it all you want, but given the chance, I’m certain you’d love a good nap right now.

Of our God-given need for rest. Studies show that adequate amounts of sleep are vital for productivity. God created the Sabbath, the day of rest,  for our benefit. (see Mark 2:27)

Of our flesh-given desire to find our identity in our work. Please, please don’t find your identity in your work. Your identity will be smashed to pieces when you rest it in your work. Choosing to intentionally rest is a way to fight against pride, which says that success lies in your abilities alone.

Of our flesh-given desire to seek God’s approval through our work. When you rest, what claim can you make in your “works”? None. God calls us to rest from the rat race of using “works” to justify approval. In Christ, we’re called “sons.” Rest in that.

You need rest. I need rest.

And we’re all better off if we take time to intentionally rest. Rest from your work. Rest from your emails. Rest from your frenetic life. Rest from earning your relationship with God.

So come on over to my backyard and kick up your feet on my hammock. I promise I won’t bother you.

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. – Exodus 20:8-11

 

 

7 Phrases a Pastor Should Regularly Say Off-Stage

I recently wrote a post relaying phrases a pastor should never say.

Though this is important, there are also things that a pastor should regularly be in the habit of saying. And not the passing, “Good to see ya” that every pastor says. Not the trivial phrases that everyone expects.

image credit: Creative Commons, Franklin Photos

There are phrases that every pastor should say that take you off guard. These words help build culture and show what a local church values. As they say, “As the pastor goes, so goes the local church.” (nobody that I know has said that. It just sounds catchy and works here) They speak volumes beyond what a pastor communicates from stage.

 7 Phrases a Pastor Should Say Off-Stage

1. I’ll return that email tomorrow.

There are certain things that are pressing in nature. Everything else should be relegated to email…which can be checked and responded to tomorrow. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither were the problems you’re dealing with in this moment. Most of the time, your marriage isn’t going to be fixed if we wait until tomorrow. Your job crisis won’t go away before the sun comes up tomorrow. And your parenting woes can wait until later, too. It’s okay to say, “Tomorrow.”

2. No, I can’t meet on Tuesday evening. That’s my family time.

Setting aside time to be with your family is vital. Letting others know that you’ve made a priority out of spending quantity and quality time with your family is highly important, because your congregation takes its cues from you. If you want them to value their family, you’ve got to value yours.

3. I need rest, too.

Pastor, you’re not a superhuman. We need rest, too. And if we want others to experience the natural rhythms of life, and honor God with their rest, we’ve got to model that. Don’t work 6 days/week, and also Sunday. Take your Sabbath. The work God has called you to deserves your best, which you can’t give without adequate amounts of rest.

4. I don’t know the answer.

Pastor, you’re not a superhuman here, either. Unless you’re the Bibleman. Quit acting like you always have the answer, even when you don’t. We’re pretty good at this, aren’t we? We can fudge our way around theologically even though we have no idea what we’re talking about.

When you model humility in this area, those you lead will feel the freedom to not have every answer before they feel like they can lead. They’ll also not come to you for every answer, creating a culture of self-learners.

5. I need help.

There are certain pastors that try to do everything on their own. In the process, they cap their leadership. The local church was never meant to function under the leadership of one person. Varying gifts are utilized when others are given the chance to lead and flesh those gifts out. Pastors can’t do it on their own. They should bring others to the table. (the same goes for times in a pastor’s life when he needs spiritual/counseling/financial help. Modeling that it’s okay to ask for help in this area is an important step for pastors, too).

When you ask for help, you encourage others to do the same.

6. I value my wife more than I value my ministry.

Say this and mean it. Build your schedule around it. Block off time with her. And if you’re asked about it, don’t hesitate to let people know what you’re doing. (1 Timothy 3:4-5) Protecting your marriage is one of the most important things you can do as a pastor.

7. I don’t have time for small group either. But I make time.

You’ve got the same number of hours in a day that those you lead have. You can’t make time any more than you can make dirt. You have to take time if you want to live life in community. If this is truly a value of you and your church, then model it. Block off the time once/week to minister, and be ministered to, in authentic community.

Question:

Did I leave anything out? Anything else you think a pastor should regularly say off-stage?

* image credit: Creative Commons, Franklin Photos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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