Balancing Act: Serving and Resting
Having pushed too hard for too long, my strength began to wane.
As life became peppered with trials of different kinds, I had little room to breathe, let alone find quiet time with the Lord. Pouring myself into ministry opportunities, I was spread thin; weekly commitments overran my home responsibilities, and fatigue became my constant companion.
The more stretched my schedule became, the more raw my emotions grew. Before long, joy was hard to find, and I knew that change, was not just important, but necessary for my survival.
As I asked God to show me how to move forward, a small whisper from the Lord emerged behind the noise. As the weeks passed, the volume intensified. No longer did I feel an intermittent nudge from the Holy Spirit; now I sensed an almost-audible boom, a constant ringing of Truth in my ear.
The Holy Spirit was trying to get my attention, and, boy, did His message ring loud and clear…
“You need to not just SERVE God, Sarah, but find REST in Him as well.”
How do we serve God wholeheartedly, without getting beaten down by our commitments? How do we carve out intimate time for Him, when the world seems to dictate what matters most? Can we truly be in fellowship with Him throughout our day, yet find ways to minister to the world and His people in the process?
The tension is real and the struggle is ever-present.
As I began to dive into Scripture, searching for the balance, Jesus provided the beautiful example I was hoping to find…
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons. (Mark 1:35-39)
As Jesus traveled throughout the region, He performed miracles of many kinds. Delivering messages to large crowds, He was bombarded with requests to heal the sick, drive out spirits, and visit individual households.
Though He was constantly pulled in many directions, Jesus still found time to meet with His Father. Retreating into the stillness, the quiet, He found a place to rest, to commune with the One who had sent Him on this mission in the first place. Though fully God, Jesus still had the needs of a man – the aching to find rest, reprieve, and relationship with His Father in Heaven.
Just as intimate time with God was vital for Jesus’s ministry, it is the key to fulfilling our mission on this earth too.
So how do we strike this balance, serving the Lord, yet not forsaking our relationship with Him in the process? What are some keys to this success?
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Before saying “yes” to things:
Spend time praying through these decisions. Ask God to show you where you need to serve, what kind of commitment you can make, and if it is something He really has for you.
Be mindful of the “extras.”
Signing up as snack coordinator for Spring soccer may sound like a low commitment, but when piled onto other small responsibilities, the “extras” can start adding up.
Set aside time to get away with the Lord.
Whether it is a retreat weekend, a special women’s event, or a nature hike, schedule planned activities that will help you stay connected to God and to other believers.
Give yourself a break!
If you need to take a step back from ministry for a season, give yourself permission. If you find yourself a week behind on your Bible study, don’t beat yourself over it. Just get back into the routine by setting small, attainable goals, and ask for help if you need it.
Support and encourage one another along the way.
There is no perfect formula to this balance. What works for some, like rising early in the morning for quiet times, might not be feasible for others. Furthermore, allow one another to say “no” to commitments without making them feeling guilty, and look for opportunities to encourage others in their daily walk with the Lord.
At the end of the day, remember you are not alone in this journey.
As long as we walk on this earth, we will feel the tension of serving God while resting in His care. Together, and with God’s help, we can walk this life of ministry together.
A Texas transplant to the Pacific Northwest, Sarah enjoys life beside her husband and three daughters. Her passions include sampling queso and chips, hiking new nature trails, and sharing coffee with friends. Along with discussing grief, community, and faith on her blog, Sarah is the founder of Our Terminal: A Community of Hope Facing Terminal Illness, an online community that provides encouragement, resources, and hope for individuals and families facing a terminal diagnosis.