Take Time for Yourself


Travis Hill, Middle School Pastor – Springcreek of Garland, Texas

YAs summer comes to an end, as the students get excited to head back to school, as you finally lose some of those awesome students to college or high school, as you witness the chaotic swirling of back-to-school programming, thinking, praying, pastoring, shepherding, loving, texting, calling, promoting, emailing, living, and working, it is difficult to simply be. Oftentimes as pastors, we forget that we are God’s people who must be cared for as well. I’ve heard the question flung around before of “Who pastors the pastor?” While we try not to see the church as work or the office or a place to get things done, it happens. Occasionally we forget why we took our positions at the church. We forget that we’re here not simply to teach through words, but also through actions, and our actions can be mired by long days (or weeks) of unrest.

So if you have been going non-stop during the summer, like I know I have, take some time for yourself. This could be a day off work, a few afternoons away from the office, or even a weekend! But don’t just take a day off and sit at home perusing Facebook or playing on your phone where anyone can get in touch with you. Be intentional with your time away. This might sound strange, but plan it. Plan to turn off your phone. Plan to get off of social media. Your students will be fine. The church will not fall apart if you give time to yourself.

Find something you absolutely love to immerse yourself in: music, movies, photography, parks, rock-climbing, whatever it is. And plan your day around it. A few of my favorite things in the world are vinyl records, home-brew pour over coffee, and board games with friends. A beautiful day off for me would be to sit on the sofa with a vinyl sleeve singing along to the crackle of the LP, drinking some awesome coffee, and then topping off the evening playing board games with a small group of close friends. Despite doing these things, if I’m living with my phone by my side (read: instant access to me), then I’m doing it wrong.

Paul wrote two epistles to Thessalonica, and while this is just a salutation, I’ve loved getting to know 2 Thessalonians 3:16,”Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way.”

The opposite of peace is not war; the opposite is unrest, discord, and conflict. If we have a God of peace, why do we constantly add discord and unrest to our lives? Why do we let that in to poison us? Our refuge isn’t one of doing, but undoing. Our peace isn’t found in not-doing, but of letting the peace of God into our hearts, and to do it continually. We can’t make it happen; it must happen on its own. We’re reminded in 1 Kings 19:11-13 that God came to Elijah as a whisper, not wind, a fire, or an earthquake.

Make a place for that whisper to happen.