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7 Ways To Protect Your Sabbath

7 Ways To Protect Your Sabbath

Sabbath is a hard word for some pastors. Many pastors struggle in this area.

In fact, many pastors I know who would teach their church to observe the Sabbath, seldom do so personally. This fact alone is one of the leading causes of pastoral burnout.

Protecting my Sabbath has proven to be crucial in protecting my ministry. I observe my Sabbath day on Saturday most weeks. It’’s my day with Cheryl. It’’s not a day where I do nothing. That’’s not how I rest. It’’s a day where I do what I want to do.

On my Sabbath, I don’’t work. I play. I rest. I recharge. I clear my head and prepare for the week ahead.

Here are seven ways to protect your Sabbath:

1. Recognize the value –

I have to realize there is a reason to observe a Sabbath. It’’s almost like God knew what He was doing. If I value it enough, I’’ll make it a priority. The value of a Sabbath is not only for myself, but it aligns me with God’’s design for mankind. “

On the seventh day, He rested”. Have you read that somewhere? We were created with a need for the Sabbath. That makes it valuable.

2. Make it a priority –

Not only do I value the importance, but I make it a priority in my week. As important as any other day, my Sabbath is a must do part of my week.

A Sabbath is good for the pastor, the pastor’s family and the church. That’’s worth prioritizing.

3. Place it on the calendar –

The Sabbath needs to be planned in advance. If you think it’’s going to happen when you “catch up”, you’’ll never take a Sabbath.

Depending on the size of your staff or the demands of your church, your day may not be the same as mine. Choose a day that works best and calendar it regularly.

4. Trust others –

One of the leading reasons I hear for pastors not taking a day off is that they don’’t have anyone who can handle their responsibilities. This is especially true in churches where the pastor is the only staff member.

Regardless of staff size, pastors need to surround themselves with some healthy people and take a risk on them. I delegate well so that when I’’m gone I know things will continue to operate efficiently.

Ultimately when I honor my Sabbath, I’’m demonstrating that I trust God. After all, the plan was His idea.

5. Discipline myself –

I just do it. I make myself take a day off. (You should consider this discipline!)

Now, here’’s the hard part of that. In addition to saying “Yes” to yourself, you have to discipline yourself to say “No” to others. Without a doubt, if you try to protect a day there will be multiple invitations, seemingly good opportunities, and non-emergency interruptions. It will happen.

You’’ll have to continually help others (and yourself) understand the value in this discipline. It’’s part of being a healthy pastor. And, I assume, most churches want that.

Frankly some will never understand the value in your Sabbath (even if they see the value for themselves). But they will also be the first one to complain if you aren’’t performing at your best in other areas of your ministry.

6. Prepare for it –

I have to work hard prior to a Sabbath so I can comfortably take it without reservation. That means I handle any details I can in advance.

Whether a pastor works five or six days a week, (I personally work six) it is important to work hard and smart enough where there is no guilt in taking your deserved and commanded sabbath.

Not trying to be cruel here, but if you are not finding time to take a Sabbath, it could be a planning and organizational problem as much as it is a demand of your time problem.

7. Learn to enjoy

Some pastors, like me, are not wired for a Sabbath. I realize some people have no problem taking a day off, but I honestly would work seven days straight if no one stopped me. There’’s always plenty to do.

I’’ve learned, however, that I function better the other six days if I have one day that I’’m not working. It’’s been a challenge to maintain it, but I now truly look forward to the rest. It’s proven to be as important for my wife as it is for me. When she’’s happy, I’’m happy.

What Do You Think?

Now, please understand, there are no perfect plans. This works most of the time for me, but not all of the time.

There are, of course, exceptions, interruptions, and Kingdom opportunities, which cause me to not be able to protect every Sabbath day. (Jesus had those too.) As much as is possible, however, I stick with this plan. When it is interrupted, I will make up the time with some extra time away. I try to get my downtime back at some point. It’’s that important to me now.

Are you protecting your Sabbath? Be honest. The strength and success of your ministry may depend on it.

Reposted with permission. This blog originally appeared here.

5 Tips When Communicating with Men

5 Tips When Communicating with Men

In my position, I hear from men and women continually. In most relationships — communication appears to be the biggest struggle. It’’s a constant work in progress in my own marriage. The difficulty is in the way men and women communicate.

My counseling background and years of experience working with couples has given me insight into some of the barriers men and women face when communicating.

I realize not all men are alike and these are generalities. I can’’t emphasize that enough. If you comment that these aren’t true for everyone — I am with you!

The only way to know is to talk with the men with whom you are trying to communicate to see if these are true for them. My hope is that these tips may help some women better understand a man and improve communication.

1. We meant what we said. Often not what you heard. –

That is true 99% of the time. (Statistically verifiable.) Men are usually more literal, and frankly simple-minded. Women may have multiple meanings with a statement. That’’s less likely with men.

So, when a man says something, try to hear only what was said — without attaching extra thoughts triggered by emotions. If in doubt, ask if his statement had a deeper meaning before making assumptions.

Most likely he meant only nothing more than what was said. (I can’t tell you how many classic examples of marriage problems I’’ve seen develop with just this one tip.)

2. We don’’t often like to give details.

If we said where we were going, who we had a discussion with or what we had for lunch, that’s usually enough for us. End of discussion. (At least in our minds.)

We may not like going into detail beyond those simple facts. I understand you may need and even deserve more information. That’’s especially true when a man has given reason to disprove his trustworthiness.

In learning how to communicate, however, it’s important to know details may be out of his realm of comfort to provide. When it’s not a matter of trust, the less you pump for details the more likely he will be to share facts, and even occasionally, details.

For Cheryl and me, she has learned that if she gives me time, and especially if we are doing something together,— like walking — that I’m more likely to share the details she wants without having to ask for them.

3. Our range of emotions is limited. –

Most men don’’t feel as deeply or multi-faceted as a woman feels about an issue. It’s not that we don’t care. It’’s just that we are wired differently.

Because of this, men tend to communicate more factually and less emotionally. If you ask us how we feel “happy” or “sad” may be as descriptive as we can get for you. That may be it.

I’’ve heard so many wives who want to know their husbands “deeper” emotions. She may not understand that he’s shared the depth as well as he knows how to share them.

4. When you tend to cry, we may tend to get angry. –

I get criticized for this point sometimes, but it’s a difference in wiring. Please understand, there is never an excuse to misuse anger and abuse of any kind should not be tolerated. But anger in itself is not a sin. The Bible says “in your anger do not sin”, but it seems to assume we will have moments of anger.

The same things that may cause female’s emotions to produce tears, often cause a man to develop anger. A godly man learns to handle that anger responsibly, but it doesn’’t eliminate the response.

When an issue riles a man emotionally, it helps if you understand his emotions may be normal and you may even be able to help him channel his response to that emotion. Cheryl does this for me continually.

5. Sometimes we have a hard time communicating what’’s on our heart.

This is sad and we may even know it. Here’’s a tip. When you make us feel we will be respected regardless of the emotions we display, the more likely you’ll see our true emotions.

Please understand. I’m not making excuses for men. The basic premise of all of these is to remember that men and women are different. I’m simply trying to help you communicate with a man.

Men, what did I miss?

Reposted with permission. Article originally appeared here.