Lessons Learned from a Season of Rest: Intro and Lesson #1

When I resigned from being lead pastor at HealingPointe last fall, I simply could not imagine not being “active” in ministry.  To be honest, it was really scary to give up my church and my position in the ministry without having anything lined up for the future.  I knew that God was leading me to take a break from ministry and get some rest, but even though I knew this decision was His leading I found it very difficult to be obedient. What would people think? What would I do with myself? -These are just a few of the questions that I wrestled with.  However shortly after making that difficult decision, I quickly realized that I needed a season of rest. Ten plus years of church planting had cumulatively zapped me and I do not think I realized just how tired I was, -not just physical exhaustion, but emotional exhaustion as well. In addition to being exhausted, I had neglected my family. I made the mistake of prioritizing the ministry over my wife and children. Furthermore, I could sense God calling me to a new ministry and I was in no condition to clearly hear His voice in that matter.  I needed to take time to rest, readjust and get finely tuned-in to God’s will for me and my family. I have learned some valuable lessons in the past six months.  I would like to share a few of them (and have a written archive for myself so that I will not have to “re-learn” any of these lessons in the future!)

I was originally planning to share all of these lessons in a single post, but as I began to process my thoughts I realized that it would be better to break them up in different posts over the next few weeks. So, here is “Lesson #1.” Future lessons will follow…

Rest Brings Proper Perspective  -In order to hear God clearly, we need rest -PERIOD. In the past six months, I think I have been hearing God more clearly than I ever have.  Not just in the decisions that I have had to make, but also in His ways in general.  I read the Word and it comes alive; I think and pray about different situations and I obtain understanding.  In short, rest brings proper perspective. As I think about this dynamic that I have observed in my own life, it causes me to reflect on the words of Jesus, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” He did not say, “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you whatever you want.”  He said, “I will give you REST.” Maybe Jesus knew “rest” is what we really need.  As I ponder this, I reflect on all the times that I have heard messages on “Waiting on God,” the different Bible stories describing how the heros of old had to wait on God and the times in my own life where God required me to “wait on Him.” We are always trying to figure out a way to make the waiting end. BUT, maybe God requires us to “wait” because He knows that we need “rest.”  And when we refuse to “wait,” we are actually refusing to “enter His rest.”  In the end, we end up running around like chickens with our heads cut off getting very little done (of eternal value) while we are absolutely wearing ourselves (and sometimes others) out. Then in addition, our perspective of who God is, what He is doing, and His will for us (and others) gets totally skewed because we are simply “too busy” and “too tired” to see God’s perfect and holy perspective. I have come to enjoy rest and the clarity that comes with it. This is the most important lesson I have learned over the past few years and I hope I never have to “re-learn” it.