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

20131126-184357.jpg

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?

We’re In This Together

Image

Welcome to the Club!

 

Tuesday Tips #3

Community – for pastors who spend nearly every waking moment in the company of others, this may not seem to be a great need.  Even pastors themselves may contend that what they really need is time alone.  While that may also be true, the need for a safe support system of peers is much harder to find. 

The statistics on isolation and loneliness within the clergy are staggering.  The challenge is in identifying a group of people that will understand, listen and not judge, and keep confidentiality.  I don’t want to just reiterate the need, however.  Tuesday Tips are about solutions.  If, as Jon Acuff says, “Fear fears community,” then let’s punch fear in the throat by creating community for pastors and their spouses.

Let’s start with face-to-face at the surface level.  Ministerial alliance organizations exist in virtually every medium-sized city.  Even if your congregation is rural or you live in a small town, if there is a city within an hour of you, it is worth the drive.  You need a support system and so does your spouse!  The meetings are an opportunity to network and will address issues common to the ministry.  This is not the medium for over-sharing, it is the starting point for relationships and contacts.

Facebook groups, particularly when closed to non-members, offer more of a discrete opportunity for secondary-level sharing.  Do a search and join, or start your own.  A good group will be encouraging and even challenging.  They will be a forum for frustrations and comfort for grieving.  Here’s the caveat – if the group isn’t healthy, don’t stay.  And don’t set yourself up for sin by personal messaging members of the opposite sex.  We have an enemy and he is looking for an opportunity – don’t gift wrap it for him. 

Counseling support groups are a third-level sharing opportunity.  If you refer church members to a counselor when the situation warrants, then you already have a contact with this type of community.  If the counselor doesn’t have a group like this, he or she can help you find one.  This type of support will have guided discussions and there is a real understanding of confidentiality.  There is more commitment involved with participation, and there will most likely be a charge of some kind.  However, when you need this level of sharing, it will be more than worth it.

Community is available.  It truly is.  You may be involved in any or all three of these at any given time.  They serve different purposes and meet different needs.  Don’t let isolation create devastation in your life.  We are meant for community – all of us!

 

What are some of the ways you connect with other pastors and their spouses?