How to Find Rest in Jesus. Right. Freaking. Now!

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Today’s post is a special post from Jena Nardella. Learn more about Jena by visiting her website or following her on Twitter (@JenaNardella)

Can I confess something? My devotion to Jesus has caused my personal and family life to deteriorate. Let me explain:

Does the term Zerrissenheit mean anything to you?

It sounds like the cousin of gesundheit, but its meaning is quite different than an exclamation after a sneeze.

The German term is loosely translated to mean torn-to-pieces-hood.

Hurry, distraction, worry and pre-occupation are all expressions of the Zerrissenheit lifestyle. The Germans might even call it an insane way to live life. It’s one that I am quite familiar with, though, not proudly. Amidst the rush of trying to serve our friends in Africa with access to safe water and HIV/AIDS care for the last eight years, I have let the health of my own life deteriorate. The rotten fruits I have been producing are exhaustion, fear, jealousy and anxiety, things we all agree make up a lousy story.

On MySubplot.com, I committed to practicing the spiritual discipline of Rest.

You never realize how irresponsibly busy you are until you are forced to take responsibly for your personal health and sanity. What I realized, very quickly after seeking rest in Christ, is my life was full of useless noise.

I am a month into my sabbatical, and am just now beginning to taste the truth about what Jesus meant when he said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” In many ways, it’s easier to live the life of an over-achieving martyr. It’s been difficult to let go, to slow down, and to feel my smallness in the world. But I feel as though I am recovering my life, through rest.

For many, a sabbatical is not possible. But as someone who is just four weeks removed from the Zerrissenheit life that many, like me, are living, I have discovered some practices I believe we can integrate into our current life, and begin to live into the invitation of Jesus’ restful arms.

1. Moderate Your Relationship with Technology
You will feel freedom when you stop letting technology have control over your life. You will realize that the world will not end if you miss your former college roommate’s Facebook status or are unaware of the trending topics on Twitter. You will encourage others to stop staring at their screens if you practice it around them. Rest awaits!

2. Practice Silence
If you’re not careful, your day will pass with every minute filled with noise. Whether you know it or not, there is already a lot of noise in your own heart and mind – oftentimes the radio in the car, television at home or constant buzzing/beeping/chirping of your phone perpetuate a sense of stress. Where you can, choose silence, even if for a few moments in the car to begin with. Quiet your environment and you will begin to feel the quiet in your heart. Don’t be afraid of the silence. Listen for God. He’s there, but we’ve made it such a noisy world that it’s difficult to hear the whisper of the Divine.

3. Take Walks
Yes, it’s cold outside. No, you don’t have time to do it. Even if it’s just for 10 minutes in your day, leave your phone at your desk and step outside for fresh air. Begin walking. You don’t need any destination – in fact, it’s better if you don’t have one. Look around you. Slow down. Breathe. Repeat tomorrow, and the next day, and the next.

My prayer is that we all learn this unforced rhythm of grace, as offered to us by Jesus.

Are you aware of how much noise fills your life? What are some of the ways you seek and find rest?

Burnout Prevention (part 2)

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This is the second of a two part article written by Angie Buchanan.

I’m going to share with you some of the things I have found to be helpful in combating burnout. These are things that we should, as ministers, be doing all the time, but would be especially important during times when you’re not at your best.

  1. Find a mentor, confidante, or friend. I don’t care what you call it. Just get someone you can talk to, and do it fast. I like to    find someone I both trust and respect as a minister. I have had too many people give me bad advice in past years, I will no longer seek advice from someone whose ministry I do not respect. Be honest with this person about the positives, and the negatives. Let them speak into your life. (Bonus if it’s someone you really enjoy spending time with, and especially if they can make you laugh!)
  2. Evaluate your self-care. Do you have a medical problem which needs to be addressed? Hormones and blood sugar are two things that impact my mood, but there are many other possible culprits. If you’re not up to date on physical exams, try to get to the doctor. If you have a known medical issue, definitely get to the doctor. Don’t neglect yourself.
  3. Give yourself a break. Take some time away. If you can’t remember the last vacation you had, date night you had with your spouse, or free activity you did for yourself, that’s a problem. Be intentional in scheduling time for yourself, your               spouse, and your children. (Observing the Sabbath is a commandment for a reason.)
  4. Take advantage of perspective-shifters. Camp helped me with this, my conversation with Liz helped me with this, and my vacation helped me with this. These are all great, but look for what could work in your own life. A good                                  conference every year or two can be of utmost value.
  5. Extend grace to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up over your downfalls, or even the fact that you might be experiencing burnout. Recognize it as something that happens when we don’t take steps to prevent it, and then deal with it. This is a                      normal thing that many ministers can relate to, if we are honest.
  6. Don’t neglect your Jesus-time. Your personal devotional time is a necessary tool in keeping your heart soft, and renewing your mind. It’s hard to have a heart for leading people to Jesus when we aren’t feeling close to Jesus ourselves. Don’t let this fall prey to your time preparing sermons and devotions for those in your ministry. Put your devotional time first… spend some time lingering in the word for no reason other than just to feed your spirit.

Do you have other tips to avoiding and combating burnout? I’d like to hear them! I pray that you value yourself, your family, and those within your ministry to be watchful of these situations, and take action to avoid them!