Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Island Fever

Sometime late last week I felt restless. In hindsight maybe I really was "rest - less!!" I have had a full schedule over the past weeks filled with the good things about being a youth pastor yet there may have been too many of those things and so I longed for a little "unplug" time.

This feeling came even stronger when I found out one of our staff was taking off with her husband to Puerto Rico for the week. Suddenly all those memories of flying into Puerto Rico on my way to Antigua, West Indies (where I was helping to establish a church) came back. While I have always wanted to visit Puerto Rico I found myself ready to get on the next available plane to the country I visited for four straight years so I could greet the church, reunite with my island friends and chill on a white sandy beach with clear blue water.

Since then I have been thinking about it everyday, for at least a few moments! What does all this tell me?

1)It is time for a break - Good timing. This Saturday I leave with my wife and daughter to go visit our oldest daughter in Seattle for six days. Sun, a white sand beach and warm water are not in the forecast but God's beauty will still be there. More importantly I will be unplugged with my family.

2) I'm attracted to the slow life - Life on Antigua is slow, sometimes to the point of frustration. Why is it frustrating? I'm too accustomed to the fast pace. I think I want to slow down and then I have a hard time adjusting when the opportunity arises. Nonetheless, I am still drawn to it.

I'm not the first to say that ministry is not a sprint. It is a marathon. I pray daily for wisdom to use my days wisely. Wisdom challenges me to take regular breaks, whether it is a consistent day off or use all my vacation days. These times of rest give me strength to keep going and finish well.

Ministry could not have been meant to be this busy. Some would argue Jesus worked long hours. How do we prove that on a consistent basis? I also observe he took time off, not to mention he spent the first year and a half of his three active ministry years preparing his disciples.

I may not get to the island soon but I will go there often "in my mind" as a reminder to rest in God.