Rest: How to Get More Done By Doing Less

  • Written By 
  • Jordan Holt

Burnout is common in the church. Why? Because it is an organization built on service on top of your normal work schedule and people simply give out more than they take in. Just like an airline encourages you to put the oxygen mask on yourself before helping others in a crisis, we have to make sure we are attending to ourselves first before we pour into others.

Contrary to popular belief, this does not look like downing that 4th cup of coffee so you can stay awake during that 2 hour rehearsal.

Don’t get me wrong, serving is incredibly important and I love coffee, but moderation is key in life. A lot of maturity is learning how to balance every area of your life so you are not getting spread too thin. This can be hard in our current culture as it can demand a lot of us, but God always gives us what we need to navigate these demands.

Why Rest is Important?

1) God Commands It

I was recently reading through Exodus and was amazed by how many times the commandment about rest was emphasized and reiterated. Possibly more than any of the other commandments.

“Six days work shall be done, but on the seventh day you shall have a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on it shall be put to death.” Exodus 35:2 (ESV)

Death?!? For real? That’s pretty serious. Do we take it that seriously? Would it be too much to say that it is selfish and sinful to not rest?

2) We Make Better Judgements

God wants us to be alert because the enemy is always looking to tempt us and lead us astray. Taking care of yourself puts you in a better place to be attentive to God’s still small voice and recognize the lies the enemy is trying to get you to align with.

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

When I reflect on my heavier seasons and not-so-great decisions that I have made I can typically pin them to being restless. God promises a life of peace with Him. Let’s pursue that.

3) We Perform Better

This should be obvious. We all want to play better, right? Practicing with Worship Online is a great start, but getting some sleep afterwards rather than binging Netflix is a great next step.

3 Types of Rest

A key ingredient to resting well is to look at yourself and clearly identify what areas need rest. I believe there are 3 types of rest we can pursue – spiritual, mental (emotional) and physical.

These are all tied together in various ways, as I believe focusing on the spiritual also affects our mental and physical well-being, but they are also independent in other ways. For instance, we can pray for healing and physical rest all we want, but sometimes God just wants us to change our diet and exercise a bit more.

When we think about rest I think we tend to relate it most to the physical, but a lot of the battle for peace is in the mind. If your mind and emotions are at peace and in line with kingdom truth, your body will follow suit.

I grouped mental and emotional together because our emotions are tied to the truths or lies we come into agreement with in the mind. If you are currently restless one of the best steps is ask God to reveal what lies the enemy may be speaking over you. We need His word to liberate us.

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Advice for Worship Teams

Let’s talk practically about the piece of common ground we all share right now: worship teams.

If you are a pastor,make sure your team is getting rest. Be mindful of schedules and check in with them to see where they are at. Do not assume that everything is good because they have not talked to you. So many of us have a heart to serve and struggle to be honest about being tired because we want to help the kingdom and stick with it. A simple coffee hang every now and then can go far for the health of your team.

If you are on a worship team, which most of you are, be honest with yourselves about where you are at physically, spiritually and mentally. We all love playing music, or else we wouldn’t be here, but make sure you are in a healthy place with your relationship with God, getting enough rest before you go on to a demanding job during the week, and have good accountability for your thoughts and relationships. Ask God how He feels about the balance of your life and be honest with Him, yourself and others.

Practical Advice

Sleep, exercise and eat well

This should go without saying but unfortunately many people neglect their health. Your body is a temple and a gift from God. Treat it with excellence and steward it well.

Have some fun

A lot of us work hard…really hard. Sometimes it just takes someone to say that you need to loosen up a bit, be selfish and take some time for yourself. Oh, and laugh a bit, it’s good medicine.

Surround yourself with the right people

Some people give life…some people drain us…some people build us up and bring out the gold in us…others make us feel incompetent. It is important that we find the people that help us see what we don’t see about ourselves and make us feel alive. This is not to say that you do not pour into everyone around you, because Jesus would do that, but if you need some rest, a good friend is priceless.

Learn to say no (be honest with others and yourself)

Many times we don’t even know our limits. Last year it wasn’t until I broke down one day that I realized my gas tank was running on fumes. We need to be in tune with our gauges and learn when we just need to say no to some things, even if they are good things.

Spend time with God

Relationship with God is everything. Let Him speak to you. His voice will always edify you and build you up. He desires to give you the best rest available.

“Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. Simply join your life with mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle, humble, easy to please. You will find refreshment and rest in me. For all that I require of you will be pleasant and easy to bear.” Matthew 11: 28-30 TPT

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