Take a Break



By Justin Cox

A few years ago I found myself on a hospital gurney in the emergency room. After ignoring chest pain for a week, I finally decided to tell my wife. The doctor conducted a number of tests and came back with shocking news: I was completely fine.

The pain I was experiencing was being caused by stress. Overwork. Burnout.

The doctor prescribed a week off — my first in quite some time. I was instructed to take that week and start working on two things. First was to discover ways to better manage and identify my stress. Second was to take a break from time to time so as not to wind up back in the ER.

I’m assuming readers of this blog have some sort of calling to help teenagers discover a lasting and meaningful relationship with Christ. This is an amazing opportunity, but it doesn’t exempt us from the same trials and stresses that everyone experiences. There are still students to lead, budgets to amend, programs and events to plan, relationships to juggle… the list goes on and on. And if you’re called into ministry, chances are you are pretty good at putting other people before yourself.

Yet, Jesus provides an example to take a break and get away. Throughout his three-year ministry, Jesus constantly found times to go off by himself and get away from the crowds. Even Jesus needed some time away to pray and recharge, yet we in ministry often feel there isn’t any time to spare. Or when we do, we feel guilty that we’re not doing enough for the people we’re called to serve.

When was the last time you did something restorative for yourself?

It’s not selfish to take a break and care for yourself. In fact, if you don’t then it will be all too easy to burnout. Over the years I’ve discovered a few ways to take a break and recharge: annual vacations with my wife, monthly massages, weekly yoga, and daily moments of silence.

Truth is I could do more to take a break and follow Jesus’s lead of recharging, but I’m in a much better place than I was a few years ago. Since you took a few moments to read this, I ask that you take a few more and grab a pen. Write down a few ideas on how you can take a yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily Sabbath. They don’t have to be extravagant things, but think of a few ways that you can help manage the stress of ministry.

Follow Jesus’s lead and find ways to care for yourself.

Take a break.