Leader to Leader, Ministry

When You’re Allergic to Downtime

February 5, 2016 | Posted by Emilie Finke

I’m convinced I’m allergic to downtime and from my limited observations, a lot of you are too. Why are we hesitant to value downtime? Well, for me it’s because anything alluding to laziness stresses me out. I don’t want anyone to think I’m slacking. I don’t want anyone to think I’m coasting. Above all, I do not want anyone to think I am wasting or taking advantage of the tithes of God’s people.

I, like many of us in ministry, tend to use potential downtime to think up something, anything, new to do, produce, create. Last year, that turned into an annual (yes, I jumped right in and called it “annual” from the get-go) women’s retreat. What should have been a natural season of restoration and spiritual growth before go-go-going from Lent through Easter became yet another go. And, just to make things extra fun for the future, I threw in an “annual.” Oh, sweet naïve Emilie, when will you learn?

Thankfully, this actually turned into the perfect opportunity to learn.

God can do good, effective, beautiful things without me (or you) going a million miles per hour. He is in the business of doing hard work. He’s also surrounded us with humans who all have different gifts and passions and resources. He wants to use us (not kill us) because it brings us joy and purpose (not isolation and fatigue). We’re having another women’s retreat this year and I am using this as restorative downtime. How?

A few small changes and a few big asks:

  1. We booked a different retreat center away from the local “touristy area” where the previous place was located. This knocked down the price while actually providing more amenities, including cooks and prepared activities at our disposal. (Oh sweet relief, knowing I don’t have to prepare actual edible food!)
  2. We asked a lady who loves the Lord to use her gift of speaking to bless our women with wisdom from the Word pro bono. She agreed because she is truly passionate about seeing women connect with Christ and each other.
  3. I asked ladies from our church to help with everything that could potentially slip through the cracks – goodie bags, advertising, etc.

By allowing other women to do things that they find joy in, I was left with the time and ability to focus on parts of the retreat that fit my joys and passions. I don’t think this just applies to women’s retreats. God has given us awesome vocations but also families and hobbies and neighbors and friends. These are important gifts! We can pour into them better when we set healthy boundaries and take advantage of natural downtime. This does not mean dropping the ball or lacking excellence. It does mean being bold enough to ask for help, trusting other people with tasks, knowing the passions of the servants around you, and finding smart ways to be efficient with time and resources.

God is not impressed with your time sheet. He is not enthralled with your exhaustion. He is invested in your heart. He does care about your relationships with the people around you. He does want to see you renewed and rejuvenated to love well and be strong in the seasons that require it.

Rest well now, warrior. We all know Easter’s comin’.

Emilie Finke
Emilie Finke is a daughter of Christ with a heart for millennials. She graduated from Concordia University Texas and is currently serving as worship leader, women’s ministry, and social media coordinator at The Point Church in Knoxville, TN. She loves good coffee paired with good music on a long road trip, conversations that get way too personal way too fast, and any well-placed pun. But Jesus is even better than all that. Check out more of her thoughts on all things life and Jesus at meanderingsandramblings.com.