“And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.” Mark 6:31
After the beheading of John the Baptist, his disciples buried the body and then traveled to meet with Jesus. Jesus saw that they were tired and distressed so he invited them to go on a short retreat into the desert to rest and take some leisure time to eat.
In a career or ministry, we all need to take some time off to relax, refresh and take some leisure time. Pastors, Evangelists and Chaplains are often so focused on their ministry that they fail to stop for a meal, rest or vacation. Their obligations become a millstone around their necks. This is true for people in other professions too. In my position as an AFLAC agent, I can get focused and work right through lunch, as a writer I often skip breakfast, and if I’m not done writing, I’ll often keep writing straight through lunch. This is not very healthy, so I will attempt to follow the plan below to improve my spiritual as well as physical personal care.
First, I will create a schedule that includes time for meals, exercise, personal devotion and prayer. Then I’ll need to stick to the plan. I have a propensity to let my plan fall apart as unforeseen developments arise. I need my schedule in writing, so that I can re-start it after these unforeseen tasks, trials, celebrations, holidays (etc.) occur. My plan schedule should look like the following.
1. Breakfast, during e-mail review.
2. Personal devotion time and reading a portion of my Bible.
3. A walk combined with prayer time spent worshiping and
talking with God.
4. Work Monday through Friday 8am to 5pm – Writing on
Saturday 8am until I’m done.
5. Studying, Teaching, Singing and Worshiping at Church
and then rest and relaxation on Sunday.
6. Get adequate sleep on a daily basis, with a nutritious
diet, to support both physical and mental health.
7. Annually, schedule vacation time for at least 3-5 days of
fun, rest and relaxation.
Combined with this plan I will need to schedule in some flexibility. A strict schedule without built-in flexibility promotes frustration and stress. I need built-in time to manage the unforeseen. I need flexibility to be able to stop and listen to people, to engage co-workers, clients, ministerial counselees, friends and family. Flex time in anyone’s schedule is important.
I need to focus on service to others first, but also never neglect my own physical needs and especially my own spiritual needs. I need to care for myself so that we can continue caring for others. This has helped me, and I hope it helps others, especially those in ministry.