Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Working Restfully

Does that sound like a contradiction in terms? A major paradox? Well, it did to me until this past May. Work had become a total drain on my energy and motivation, not because of WHAT I was doing, but HOW I was going about it.

I spent a lot of time reading and reflecting this summer on how to work more restfully. That simply means to work at a pace that allows me to breathe and be attentive and aware of God’s work in and through me. In contrast, I was working last year with PRODUCTIVITY as my only goal. And, not just my goal, but my measure of success! I had a To Do list way too long for one person, and I would buckle down each day and try and cross as many things off that list as possible. At the end of the year, I wondered what of importance or consequence had I really fulfilled when all I was attending to was the urgent?!

I want to pursue this way of work and life so I can remain for the long-haul. I don’t know how long God would have me stay in the CCO, but I am open. It is not uncommon to hear about burn-out in ministry. Some believe that since it is “God’s work” that it either makes you immune to becoming tired or that there is no good reason to put limits on how hard you work (health of body, mind, spirit, family, relationships, etc.) I believe the evidence that working restfully is actually more effective. It doesn’t mean I don't work hard. It means I work well.

So, I am learning to manage my priorities better, to ask for help and be realistic about what one person can or should accomplish. And, I am encouraging my staff team of eight to do the same. Its not just my goal to set up a sustainable pattern of work for me, but also for the Outdoor Leadership Team as a whole. We have good work to do and I want it to keep going for a long time.

Please continue to pray for me and Francois as we seek to be faithful with what God has given us in our time, money, skills, and even our home. That none of these things takes our focus or becomes what we live for, but that we live for Jesus Christ, and give him thanks for the grace to figure it out on the journey.

You may want to check out these books:

  • Keeping the Sabbath Wholly, Marva Dawn
  • Catch Your Breath, Don Postema
  • Practicing the Presence of God, Brother Lawrence

And this website:


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