“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.” Genesis 2:2
Cleaning out my attic, I unearthed a pair of unlikely treasures, green, fleece-lined, army coats. They were one of those things I acquired when I said “I Do”. In our early years of ministry these oversized, bulky, green coats became a weekly part of our lives. Whatever the coats lacked in style, they more than made up for in comfort and memories.
Jon and I enjoyed doing ministry together at Bend First Assembly, nestled just over the eastern side of the Cascade mountains of Oregon. We worked hard those early years, wanting to be the best possible staff members. The first year of ministry we set the clocks in our apartment fifteen minutes ahead. If the Senior Pastor wanted the staff to be at the church by 8:00 a.m., Jon and I were showing up at 7:45! “To be on time was to be late!” was one of our silly mottos.
We worked for a Pastor that encouraged hard work, yet also insisted that we rested each week. Monday became our day of rest. Following the Sunday night service, we would dash home, quickly change our clothes and slide into our beloved coats. Climbing into our MG Midget we would traverse the winding mountain pass to the western side where our families lived.
Those green coats were our way of taking off the labors of the week and putting on rest. We were free. Free from form fitted clothes, tight shoes and expectations of others. It was our time to be a bit sloppy and relaxed. Pulling into a late night gas pump, the attendant would never have guessed that we had just come from church. For the next 24 hours, we were not thinking about strategies, leading people or solving problems. It was just Jon and me, letting our hair blow in the wind without a care in the world.
I think those army coats were our way of putting aside the cares of the week. Sliding into those coats reminded us that it was time to rest. Triggers are important, something that tells you it’s time to pull away from work and rest. Here are some weekly Rest Triggers worth considering:
Taking a walk or bike ride
Exploring a new site in your city, like a museum or historical location.
Enjoying the outdoors, A picnic, hike or fishing trip
Powering off all digital devices.
Wearing your favorite comfy clothes (like your sweatpants or flannel pajamas or worn out shoes)
A favorite hidden-away coffee shop (without the phones)
A favorite blanket or coffee mug.
Thinking about your own life, what is it that triggers your mind to rest? Whatever it is be intentional to weekly take off the labors of ministry and put on rest?