“Did You Take a Sabbath Rest This Week?” – Questions You Can Ask a Missionary, Part 2
Our friends (and fellow missionaries) Keith and Lori Doster recently linked to an article about stressors that missionaries face. The original article is called 12 Questions You Can Ask a Missionary to Help Them Stay on the Field. Missionaries are not unique to these stressors; however, they do face them in situations where they often feel vulnerable and lonely.
If you know any missionaries, I encourage you to support and encourage them by asking one or more of these questions (but not all 12 at once!). For the sake of our friends, supports, and blog-readers, I wanted to proactively answer these questions over the next few months. (Of course, feel free to ask us these questions personally.)
Question 2: “Did you take a Sabbath rest this week?”
I don’t do well with doing nothing. Last month, I had a goal to carve out 10 Mindful Minutes each day, and I failed horribly.
But even doing nothing really isn’t a Sabbath rest. In Take a Rest, I wrote, “Rest doesn’t just happen. Rest is a purposeful activity. Even more, rest is an attitude of the heart.” And I confess that I struggle to trust God enough to step back, and to disengage from my active and busy life.
However, I’m working on it. A few weeks ago, I deactivated email notifications on my phone. Now, I control when I check email, as opposed to feeling the need to respond to each buzz.
And I try to stay off my laptop and phone from Saturday evenings until Sunday afternoons. At least, I don’t use it for work and escape purposes (I will use it to look up something with my kids, use my Bible memorization program, etc.). That’s probably the closest thing I get to trusting God with a Sabbath rest each week.
Over the years, I have grown more intentional about the need for family and marriage get-aways. Besides short, weekend trips as a family, we spent a week in June at the beach with family. It was a great time for our family to rest before our busy summer. Because of my commitment of coaching football, that will be our last time to get away until the end of football season. Last year, we had a Secret Vacation, which was a great time of family rest and reconnection.
Joanna and I also make sure to get away by ourselves at least once a year, every year since we’ve been married. Besides just enjoying each other’s company and prioritizing our marriage, we use this time to Dream, Discuss, and Plan.
We already had a two-night get-away in the spring; I was a speaker at an event, and we used the rest of the weekend to rest and have fun. For our more intentional discussing and planning, we just had another weekend out-of-town. We are thankful for great family and friends who watch our kids!
So, to answer the question, “Did you take a Sabbath rest this week?” I will give a half-hearted “yes.” Even in the midst of a busy season, we need to keep remembering to trust God and to rest. Please pray that we will grow in this area. As JD Greear writes in How Do We Find Spiritual Rest?, “We can never rest if we find our identity in our work.” And you can substitute work with hobbies, family, status, or any number of idols.
Thanks for asking these questions, or at least for reading!