The best way to improve your joy is one simple practice: rest.
We’re on a sickening treadmill of accomplishments, tasks, busyness, and joylessness. Every year we increase the speed of our lives, all the while wanting to slow down. But society says we can’t, and we blindly follow its hurried advice.
We don’t find joy when we hurry. We experience it when we dare to stop.
Michael Yaconelli writes,
“Spiritual growth is not running faster, as in more meetings, more Bible studies, and more prayer meetings. Spiritual growth happens when we slow our activity down. If we want to meet Jesus, we can’t do it on the run. If we want to stay on the road of faith, we have to hit the brakes, pull over to a rest area, and stop. Christianity is not about inviting Jesus to speed through life with us; its about noticing Jesus at the rest stop.” (Messy Spirituality, p. 88).
Here’s a practical thing you can do to incorporate and celebrate rest. Read Mark Buchanan’s excellent book, The Rest of God. and then dare to follow its advice. Choose to take a day off every week to slow down, reflect, rejuvenate and refuel.
When we lived in France, we started incorporating a weekly rest. Though we walked through nearly constant stress, we found incredible refreshment by setting aside one day to unplug and unwind. We took walks. We listened to music. As a family we played games. We ate together and fasted TV. I believe we are stable in the aftermath of stressful ministry because we took that step.
What prevents you from slowing down, from stopping? What are you afraid of if you do? How would you benefit from a day off?
If you can’t rest for yourself, consider resting for the sake of others. If you’re refreshed, you’ll be better able to refresh others.
“Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and the one who waters will himself be watered” (Proverbs 11:25).
Prayer: Jesus I’m so tired. I’m too busy. I can’t see straight. My schedule is my god. I need Your holy perspective on my rush-rush life. Help me be brave and countercultural enough to take a weekly break. Help my family see the need for stopping, too. And give me a renewed perspective on a balanced, happy life. Amen.
This is an ongoing Thursday series based on the book Everything: What You Give and What You Gain to Become Like Jesus. It’s the book I wrote that details how exactly we can grow in our relationship with Jesus in a life-altering, hope-fueling way. It’s everything I know about discipleship and growth.