I just put a week in my pocket, and no one seemed to notice. Let me explain. For over thirty-five years I’ve used a Day-Timer for personal management. Now, don’t think that makes me an old-timer. I use iCal and an iPhone and operate in the digital age. It’s just that for making lists, jotting notes and reminders, a hard copy works better and quicker for me.
The Importance of Unplugging
A week ago today, I began a twelve-day sabbatical/hunting trip in the mountains of Montana. I tried to have things in order before I left. I empowered my team and let them operate our organization, so I could recharge my batteries.
I empowered my team and let them operate our organization, so I could recharge my batteries.
It’s been a long time since I’ve done anything like this. After an evening of final packing (as only a perfectionist can do) and a day of traveling, my hunting partner, Stanley Manley, and I arrived at the campsite to meet up with the rest of the hunting party.
For the past five days, I’ve gotten up early, hiked for miles in the mountains chasing elk with my bow, and come back to camp empty-handed. After some camp food and getting my gear ready for the next day, I slide into my warm sleeping bag, bone weary. I’ve learned that, for me, it’s a good tired.
Today is Sunday. We decided to take a break to rest, relax, wash unbelievably dirty hunting clothes, and honor the Lord with some time with Him. We are away from the campsite at the beautiful mountain home of our host. We plan to eat a big steak before we head back to the hills, the tent, and camp food. I turned on my laptop and opened my Day-Timer for the first time in a week. The tab says September 8. Today is the fifteenth. A lot has happened in the world in the past seven days, and I know about some of it. Having intermittent phone service has been a blessing and a curse, allowing me to spot-check the news on my phone. I’ve been able to call home and check pressing email, but, mostly, I’ve chased elk.
I did not know how much I needed the reprieve from the endless demands of my commitments. . . .The eternal destiny of souls presses upon me. My mission in life motivates me.
I did not know how much I needed the reprieve from the endless demands of my commitments. I won’t bore you with the details, but in summary, I lead a very busy life. The eternal destiny of souls presses upon me. My mission in life motivates me. The needs never end, and I can’t seem to get caught up on email. Today, as most days, Stanley and I talked about the Lord. We were both emotional and realized how much relief we were feeling—and just how much we’ve detoxed in the last few days.
I am sitting here sighing deeply and feeling a stiff mountain breeze blow across my laptop spot. My soul is drinking in a breathtakingly beautiful mountain range. Fir, aspen, and lodge pole pine dot the landscape. Craggy peaks stand sentinel over gorgeous valleys. Cattle graze lazily in the distance. Somewhere in the trees are elk.Rest: I have to do this. You have to do this. Click To Tweet
Our Need for Rest
I know there are books written about the need for true rest. I know our great God did take time off. I am aware of the physiological aspects of stress. When your serotonin supply is depleted, you begin to run on adrenaline and burnout is inevitable. Rest: I have to do this. You have to do this.
How much good am I to the precious people I serve if I’m exhausted, depleted, and drained? I just put a week in my pocket, at one time, and I feel pretty good about it. I probably need to do some work, but it will wait. Thank God for a dependable team and an understanding wife. This time will pass much too soon. Please excuse me, I’ve got to go eat a big steak and chase some elk.
Postscript: For those who care, I ended my hunt without harvesting an elk. Everyone back home survived, and my team shined in my absence. While this hunt was great, I realize that I need to take regular days off and maintain the exercise regime I started to get in shape for this trip. For those who care, I took time to celebrate my thirty-fifth wedding anniversary with my wife, Carol, in July.
Bio: Darrell Johns is pastor of Atlanta West Pentecostal Church, assistant general superintendent of the UPCI, and a grandfather. His wife, Carol, is a patient partner who supports him in his ministry. His life goal is to develop leaders for the kingdom of God.
Resources and Links
(A version of this article was published in Pentecostal Life.)
Boundaries for Leaders by Dr. Henry Cloud; Leading on Empty by Wayne Cordeiro; The One Life Solution by Dr. Henry Cloud; Ordering Your Private World by Gordon McDonald