Contributor – Heather Quiroz- Staff Consultant with Ministry Architects and Youth Ministry Director at First Baptist Church Aledo
Irritable. Angry. Exhausted. Tired. Defeated.
This was me not long ago, and no, I wasn’t pregnant. I was burnt out. I was at my wits’ end. I had been running a million miles per hour, “doing ministry for Jesus.” I had neglected my own personal time with God and was suffering because of it. Ministry for me had become a chore. I had lost my passion and was ready to throw in the towel.
If I could be quite honest, I was doing less “ministry for Jesus” and more ministry to be seen by others, filling an unhealthy need for performance and was being led by deception – filling my plate with too much – before truly consulting God on the matter.
As I sat there in my office, ready to be done, God met me. It was time to hit the TIME OUT button and get re-acquainted with my first love. I had very quickly become like the church of Ephesus in the book of Revelation 2:4, “You have forsaken the love you had at first.”
After much repentance and a lot of tears I made the decision. It was time to get away be with my Father. It was time for Sabbath in my life. I started a Master’s degree that fall and in one of my first classes I read a book that hit me right in the heart. In Ruth Haley Barton’s book “Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation,” she says,
“The longing for solitude is also the longing to find ourselves, to be in touch with what is most real within us, that which is more solid and enduring than what defines us externally. This is our soul, that place at the very center of our being that is known by God, that is grounded in God and is one with God.”
In a culture consumed with performance, we quickly allow the applause of the masses to drive us forward instead of longing for the praise of our heavenly Father who “sees what is done in secret and rewards us” (Matthew 6:4). In a culture like this it’s easy to get distracted and not make Sabbath a priority.
Since I started making Sabbath a priority how I felt about ministry and life began to change. Now I use these words to describe myself:
Peace. Joy. Delight. Hope. Perseverance.
Your soul needs Sabbath, more than I think any of us truly understand. Barton says, “When we don’t attend to our vulnerabilities and instead try to repress it all and keep soldiering on, we get weary from holding it in. Eventually it leaks out in ways that are damaging to us and to others.”
I’ve been there, but by God’s grace, I’m not there anymore and it’s because I started taking time for my first love, Jesus Christ. I hope you’ll take time for Sabbath too.
- Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation, Ruth Haley Barton. IVP Press, 2006. Kindle Edition.
- Holy Bible: NIV. Chicago: Moody, 1994. Print.