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?

Less is More

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“So what is the schedule/agenda/program for the retreats at Barnabas House?”  I’m asked this question over and over in many different ways.  Every time I hear it I think, “You don’t really get it, do you?”

The issue of pastor burnout isn’t solved with more – more activities, more information, more 5 hour energy, more conferences, more ideas.  Today’s pastor has unprecedented access to information, ideas, and conferences via the Internet than any other time in history.  The pharmaceutical industry has insured that we can get by on less sleep than ever before thanks to prescription and over-the-counter stimulants that drive us ever forward.  Thanks to the pace of our culture, if the pastor isn’t at church (or at the job that actually pays the bills), the expectation to attend every sporting event and concert involving a congregant is enough to keep him or her busier than a one-armed paper hanger.  
 
The answer isn’t more.  Or perhaps it is the right more – more rest, more peace, more margin, more real relationship, more breathing.  At BHOK we make room for the right more.  There is time for solitude, free of expectations. We create opportunity for spontaneous conversation in a safe environment. Counseling is available, but not required.  Good reading material lines the walls, though one need never pick up a book.  In this place, our priority is to provide an atmosphere where the still, small voice of God can be heard.  
 
Pastors, make room for the right more.  Find a way to sometimes say no to things that are good, so that you can say yes to the things that are God.  
 
Church members, help your pastors make room for the right more.  Allow them to say no without criticism.  Build into the budget and the calendar the margin that is so integral to their service and spiritual development.  Take joy in seeing your pastor and his family rested. You’ll never regret having a well-loved leader.
 
How are you making room for the right more in your life or in your pastor’s life?