There’s a tender phrase in The Message version of Psalm 23 that we leaders need to hear. It says, “You let me catch my breath.” I can just picture Jesus seeing how hard we’ve been working, and saying, “Slow down. Take a break. Rest for a while.”

We’re in an unusually full stretch of months at the ministry where I serve. At a recent Body of Christ time—where for we gather an hour to engage with God and each other—the staffer in charge read Psalm 23. She invited us to share ways that Jesus was shepherding us during the previous weekend. Several people shared, and then she gave us time to ponder it more deeply.

A few obvious things came to mind, but what rose to the surface were several times when I chose to rest instead of work. I walked right past the dirty laundry on my way to sit with my husband on our deck. Same thing with the dishes on the counter. And the overturned flower pots on my front porch that the wind blew over. 

It was freeing to be okay with undone chores, and to follow God’s lead as I rested and enjoyed the weekend. I realized I was experiencing God’s “unforced rhythms of grace.” That’s another great phrase from The Message, in Matthew 11:29-30—

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out…? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

3 Ways to Catch Your Breath

  • Pace yourself. Who’s driving your schedule? Is there some overzealousness at work—either outside of you, or coming from within? Identify it, address it. And then keep pace with Jesus—walking when He’s walking, running when He’s running. You’ll accomplish your work in His time.
  • Take enjoyable breaks. What recharges your batteries? Make sure to do the activities God designed you to delight in—whether for a minute, an hour, or a day. If it means a few projects or chores are delayed, that’s okay.
  • Get away with God. True rest is always found in the presence of God. Ask Him to lead you in spending some special time with Him, and go for it! It will be worth every moment.

Leaders are famous for working hard. But how often have we heard that on their dying bed, no leader ever said, “I just wish I would’ve worked harder.” God is not a controlling task master with a whip; He’s a comforting Shepherd with a rod and staff. Leaders who live and die without regret have learned to keep company with God and live in His unforced rhythms of grace.

“God is not a controlling task master with a whip; He’s a comforting Shepherd with a rod and staff.”

- Lisa Hosler

How are you learning to catch your breath and live in God’s unforced rhythms of grace? Feel free to share your thoughts in the Comment Section below.

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