Looking for Rest in All the Wrong Places

By Dan Colwin February 2, 2017

“Tired.” “Exhausted.” “Wiped out.” These words have been coming out of my mouth constantly over the last few weeks whenever people ask, “How are you doing?” It’s a busy season for me at LeaderTreks, at church, and at home. Not only am I physically and emotionally exhausted, but my soul is weary. No amount of sleep, time in a massage chair, or soothing sounds from a relaxation CD has extinguished that burned-out feeling.

I’ve experienced seasons like this one before. This time two years ago, I found myself in a similar place, but God used a unique experience at my church to teach me about rest and restoration.

“My body, mind, and soul were exhausted, but I wasn’t going to the One who could truly revive me.”

There I was, silent and sitting in my chair as everyone else around me was standing and praising God. My church body was lifting their love for Jesus up to the heavens, but I was so spent I couldn’t even fake it. And that’s when God got through to me. As one of the songs came to a close, our worship pastor shared with us what he was going through. He also felt fatigued with life and wasn’t finding relief. He kept watching Netflix, going to movies, and taking naps to recharge, but those things were having no effect. God convicted him of it, reminding him, “Why aren’t you coming to me for your rest? Why aren’t you seeking refuge in me? I’m here, and I will give you comfort and rest for your weariness.”

It was as though God was speaking those words directly to me, and they were exactly what I needed to hear. My body, mind, and soul were exhausted, but I wasn’t going to the One who could truly revive me. I wasn’t spending time in his Word or on my knees in prayer. God is the giver of life, yet I was looking for renewal everywhere else.

Psalm 65 says it so well:

Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
   my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
   he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
   he is my mighty rock, my refuge.

God wants us to find rest and refuge in him, and he loves giving life to our weary bodies.

Have you ever felt like this? I don’t mean that satisfying exhaustion that comes from a day of good, hard work. I’m talking about that feeling that you’ve been worn down, like when the pink eraser on the end of your pencil rubs down to the metal and accidentally tears into the paper you’re trying to edit. Ministry can beat us up and wear us out. We work in the life-giving business, but our jobs can drain the life right out of us. When we reach those times of exhaustion, we need to seek comfort from God; only he can fill us.

“We work in the life-giving business, but our jobs can drain the life right out of us.”

Next month I’m flying down to Pawleys Island, SC for one of our Refuel Retreats. I can’t wait. Refuel Retreats exist as a refuge from the weariness of youth ministry. We created them because we saw the need for solid training in an environment that promoted rest rather than the craziness of other youth ministry conferences. We build time into the schedule for you to connect with God through prayer, studying Scripture, and relaxing. Refuel Retreats are small, collaborative, and intentional. Time and time again, youth pastors tell me that attending a Refuel Retreat was the best thing they’ve done for themselves in years. In fact, every Refuel sees the return of several youth workers for their second, third, or even fourth time.

Refuel Retreats are a great place to be recharged for ministry. We would love to have you join us. But if you aren’t able to come, I pray that you are able to find rest in Christ to fuel you for the amazing ministry to which God has called us.

Learn more about Refuel Retreats at www.refuelretreat.com.

CC Image courtesy HilaryQuinn on Flickr.

About the Author

Dan Colwin

Dan Colwin is director of trips at LeaderTreks. He and his wife, Clare, live in West Chicago with their sons, Everett and Oliver, and little puggle, Roxy. They love their church family at Life Church in Wheaton, where they volunteer together in the youth group. He enjoys spending time outdoors, taking walks, having fires, reading, building Legos, working in the garden, and…  Read More