I am an ISFJ, which means I’m often a ball of contradictions.
Though introverted, I can be outgoing and I have good social skills. That explains my constant packed schedule – the last time I had some time alone was nearly a month ago!
Because of my introverted nature, an accumulation of social activities drains me out when I don’t get time to recharge. Now, whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, having enough time to rest and recalibrate is crucial for physical, mental and spiritual health.
But how do we do that in fast-paced society?
If there was a “busiest person” competition in the Bible, Jesus would have won it hands-down.
Jesus taught in the synagogue in the morning, healed the sick in the afternoon and cast out demons at night! Yet despite his busy schedule, Jesus was never flustered.
“At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.” (Luke 4:42-44)
Already, you may have glimpsed some secrets to Jesus’ ministry. So how do we stay rested and composed amidst a hectic life? Here are some handles for doing so that I’ve learnt through my walk with God.
3 RULES FOR RESTING WELL
1. PROTECT YOUR TIME
The verse starts off with Jesus being by Himself. It wasn’t uncommon for Jesus to withdraw from people to be alone.
I don’t know about you, but I tend to give away my rest time when other things vie for my attention. One week it’s a friend who’s only free on this day. Another week it’s family commitments. On yet another it’s ministry work.
For a long time, I saw rest as less important and urgent in comparison to such activities. But this way of life quickly proved ineffective and unsustainable: I found myself extremely drained and moody. My relationships with people were affected badly, and I ended up complaining to God all the time.
God, why do I have so many people to meet? Why did you give me so many tasks and responsibilities?
But God isn’t responsible for how we handle the tasks we have been given – we are. And a good leader knows when to serve and when to rest.
In Mark 6:31-32, the disciples were so busy ministering that they did not even have a chance to eat. Jesus saw what was happening and invited them to get away with Him to a quiet place.
What about us? Do we know when to stop serving and start resting? Do we protect our time with God?
… a good leader knows when to serve and when to rest.
2. THE POWER OF SAYING NO
In the following verses we see that the crowd wanted Him to stay, but Jesus declined.
Matthew 14:23 tells us, “After He had dismissed them, He went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray.”
And this wasn’t just any crowd that Jesus dismissed. These were the first few people who accepted Him since His ministry began! In the previous town, where Jesus had demonstrated miracles, the people had actually wanted to throw Him off a cliff.
If you were a leader trying to start a following, this would have been a good opportunity. Why would anyone leave proven, fertile ground to grow a following elsewhere?
But this actually wasn’t a selfish decision. It was a deliberate choice based on Jesus’ priorities, which brings us to the next point.
Immediately after saying no, Jesus explained why He decided not to stay on: “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.”
It wouldn’t have been wrong for Jesus to stay on and minister to the people there. Thing is, He was very clear on what his priority was. His mission was not just to go to that particular town – but to the entire region. Jesus had to say no to the important in order to say yes to the vital.
Saying no is difficult when we have to choose between options which aren’t necessarily bad. In such times, it’s important that we know what our mission is because we have limited time, energy and effort.
And since we are called to be good stewards of our lives, we have to learn how to prioritise where we want to invest our resources. Without having a clear focus, we will be easily distracted.
Above all, we have to prioritise our rest time; God didn’t tell us to keep the Sabbath for nothing. Even the Lord Jesus thought it necessary to say no to the crowd’s demands in order to pray.
So don’t you think we should learn how to do the same?