The Power of Unplugging

For my first twelve years of ministry, I averaged less than one day off a week, and though I took an annual retreat (with other pastors in my denomination), I had not figured out what Rob McQueary has (as described in his blog):
Most driven people do not retreat well. I used to be one of them. I grew up under the notion that the more spiritual (and manly) you were, the harder you pressed and worked. This is not an argument against working hard and pushing through in difficult situations. I think most leaders do that in relatively automatic fashion. What I am advocating is what has been taught to me in the last 10 years… the power of unplugging.

The reason I’m writing about it now is that I have been powerfully unplugged for the last few days in an attempt to live out what I believe. Here are a few of the reasons I believe – and have been reminded of the last few days – that retreating is so energizing.

1. I live tired… retreating affords me time for extra rest.
2. I live distracted… retreating gives me permission to turn off the electronics (all of them).
3. I live divided… retreating gives me time to evaluate my priorities & match my choices to my goals.

For reasons like these (and many others), I will never apologize for retreating. I will return home tomorrow feeling refreshed as a husband, father, pastor and friend. Jesus got this. Really? Absolutely. Read the gospels. He is frequently “going apart to rest awhile”. Be introduced to the power of retreat. As I always used to say to students when I wanted to challenge them… I dare you.
I speak regularly with numerous other pastors, and with several, my almost constant question is, "Are you taking time off?" or "When's your next vacation?" And too often the answers are evasive or apologetic. I can't stress enough, for myself or for others, the efficacy of living like Jesus in this respect: practicing Sabbath, going apart to rest awhile, and so on. And not only as corrective measures, but as preventative routines as well. In fact, in this as in many other areas, an ounce of prevention truly is worth a pound of cure.

1 comment:

  1. Bob- Thank you for the reminder of retreating in to Sabbath. This is an area that I think also needs to be a large part of the rhythm of our lives!