One of the speakers at Best Practices from Camp Lutherhoma in Oklahoma (of course!) talked about the need we all have for “pattern interrupt.”
Camps like his provide people with the opportunity to get away from their usual schedules and take time to sit back, relax and be at one with nature, as they say. At camps like these, people are free to join in Bible classes, eat meals served by the staff, engage in crafts, play games, take part in activities, head out on hikes, read books, go swimming and enjoy naps in the middle of the day.
Sounds good, right?
It seems more than ever than our lives are far too busy, our days are filled to the brink, our calendars and day planners are stuffed. Part of that is healthy, of course. It is a good thing to stay active, to be involved, to spend time with people, to use the gifts that God has granted to us.
But there needs to be a period when we set aside time to take it easy and to recharge our bodies. My good friend Dr. John Eckrich writes that he has seen far too many pastors come to his office overstressed and burnt out because they have been doing “too much” and are not taking enough time for themselves. Many church workers feel guilty about taking a break, he noticed, because of their calling is to serve. But there is a point where personal health trumps the call to serve.
God even built in a “pattern interrupt” into every week at the time of creation. On the seventh day, God rested from all that he had done, it says in Genesis. Even God took a break from his work, and he desires that we do too. “Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy,” he includes in the 10 Commandments. And we read in Hebrews 4:9:
There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his.
Part of that Sabbath-rest is attending worship in the house of God. Part of that rest is spending time in prayer. Part of that rest is reading God’s Word. And part of that rest is simply enjoying the life we have been given and reflecting on what our purpose is in this life so that we are refreshed and renewed to return to our patterns of daily living for the Lord.
May God give us wisdom and discernment to know when it is time for a pattern interrupt to help us to be the best servants of God we can be by his grace.
Just to let you know, in case you are interested, John Eckrich founded a retreat-based ministry called Grace Place to provide church workers and their spouses with a pattern interrupt. Check out the website for more information: http://www.graceplacewellness.org/
Here is a link to camp ministries as well: http://www.nloma.org/