Like many of you, during this pandemic I found myself working more hours than ever before. I felt the need to stay connected on many fronts because I was afraid of losing the relationships I had with our students. Because I was working from home, I would get started early in the morning and work well into the night. I wrote notes, sent texts, called students and teachers, had zoom meetings several times a week, and planned a stay at home camp for our students. The stress to stay connected each day was huge.
After a while, I began to realize that I was physically and mentally exhausted. My wife reminded me that I hadn’t taken a day off in over two months. So, I called a friend and we went and played golf one morning. That evening I watched a movie with my family and did absolutely nothing related to my job.
Even Jesus needed a break!
I am reminded of the story in Matthew Chapter 4 when Jesus is led into the wilderness for 40 days and nights to be tempted. While he was in the wilderness, he fasted. Imagine going that long without food. I get tired, cranky, and hungry if I miss one meal! I can guarantee you I’ve never gone four days, much less 40 days without a meal. I did a fasting weekend with our youth once and it was the hungriest I’ve ever been. It was only thirty hours. Jesus was also tempted by Satan during his time in the wilderness. We are reminded that when we are trying to rest or take time for ourselves, Satan tries to interrupt our rest with temptations of hunger, busyness, thoughts of work or family…anything to pull us away from resting our minds and bodies to be better able to focus on what God wants for our lives.
Verse eleven of chapter four says, “Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus.” Even Jesus needed a break! There are many other times in the Gospels where Jesus took time for himself to recharge. He usually spent time alone praying. He even slept during a storm on a boat. If he needed it, we definitely need it! So, I’m going to be better at taking some time for myself so that I can be the best at whatever role I need to be…husband, dad, youth minister and “other duties as assigned.” Take care of yourself, be the best youth minister you can be, but don’t neglect the other areas of your life. May you find the peace and rest that only Jesus can give.
Take time for YOU!
- Take time to be by yourself. Read a book, watch a movie, relax outside, and certainly take time to read God’s Word and to pray. It’s hard for an extrovert like me to be alone, but there are times when its necessary.
- Get out and exercise. One of the issues I had during our quarantine was my gym being mandated to close. I didn’t get in the gym for nearly two months and I missed being there. Exercising definitely reduces stress and helps you rest. Even if you can’t get to a gym, find some kind of exercise you can do each day. You will feel tons better when you do!
- Spend time with family and friends. I played golf with an old friend and it was great to catch up. I spend time walking the neighborhood with my wife every day. It is time well spent for both us. I taught my fifteen-year-old daughter how to drive…this helped improve both of our prayer lives! Quality time spent with family and friends is a great way to relax, rejuvenate and enjoy the people in your life.
Be the best youth minister you can be! That means being the best person you can be. As Christians, we should follow Jesus’s example…rest, pray, rejuvenate and take care of yourself!
David is currently the youth minister at First Baptist Nacogdoches, Texas. He loves spending time with his family, playing golf, and watching hockey. He is also the current world champion of Useless Triva.
Check out his resources on DYM here!