In Search of Rest

As some of you have noticed, I’ve added a “poll” section to my blog page.  I added it last week for a couple of different reasons:

  1. I wanted to get a better idea for who you are [as a reader of this blog], and
  2. I wanted to get a better feel for some of the things that you are dealing with as you serve on into the spring semester/trimester.

Most of my posts are related to the things I’m currently thinking about, or wrestling with, but desiring to be a resource to others in the field I felt it important to create a way for you [the reader] to guide some of the content of this blog.

So, last week’s poll was:

What do you find yourself most in need of right now as a minister?

The overwhelming response: REST.

It’s probably no big surprise, especially since those of us on campus have long passed spring break and are quickly moving towards the end of the academic year, that we – as ministers – are a tired people.  The academic year has a rhythm to it… and the month of April is often one of the months when the pace slows down a bit.

But as I reviewed the results of last week’s poll I found myself wondering how many of us intentionally seek out rest as a part of our ongoing self-care and soul-care.

It’s only been in the past few years that I’ve intentionally begun to create space in my monthly schedule for a personal retreat day.  The past several months I’ve not been very good about taking this day, but last week – as students were away on Thursday – I sought the peaceful setting of a local state park – and spent my day with the God who has called me to this important work.

This time away has become an essential part of my ongoing spiritual formation and professional development.

I can’t remember that there was one defining moment or experience that caused me to make retreating a priority, but it has become a huge one for me, and a time when I can:

  • withdraw to simply be with Jesus
  • dig into the Word
  • reflect on the past month/s and see how God has been at work in my life and ministry
  • listen for how God is leading – personally and professionally
  • prepare for the month/s ahead
  • reorder my priorities
  • remember that Jesus is the savior [of the campus I serve] – NOT ME
  • and REST

Rarely are two retreats ever the same – aside from the fact that each one is an attempt to create space to be with Jesus and allow Him to set any agenda for that time.

I have found that as I have been willing to set aside this time – even in the busiest of months – that God not only blesses the time away from campus, but refreshes my spirit and refuels my energy levels for life and service – both at home and on campus.

Sometimes the REST that we are most in need of is the REST that will only come when we are willing to make it enough of a priority that we seek it out.

So…
  • Are you in search of rest?
  • How are you actively seeking it out?
  • Are retreats an important part of your life and ministry?
I’d love to hear from you.

About the author: Guy Chmieleski
Guy is the Founder and President of Faith On Campus. He is also the University Minister at Belmont University in Nashville, TN. He is the author of Shaping Their Future: Mentoring Students Through Their Formative College Years and CAMPUS gODS: Exposing the Idols That Can Derail Your Present and Destroy Your Future.