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I love the summer. Especially now that we’re living in Wisconsin, the summers have become much more precious. All winter long, while enduring negative temperatures, I have been longing for warmer weather. And to my delight, it has finally arrived! This summer I am eager to spend time at the pool with my kids, go for long runs, and enjoy concerts in the park.

A few years ago, I realized that in order to sustain a healthy pace of life and to help nurture my own creativity, I needed to pull back from blogging for a season each year. Since our family rhythm significantly changes in the summer, and since I want to enjoy every ounce of it that I can, it seems that summer is the natural time to pull back.

But before I go silent for a few months, I wanted to take a moment and say thank you to all of you who have followed along with my blog this year. Also, I want to let you know that over the course of the summer I will be completely revamping my blog to give it a totally new look and feel. I’ve already started to work on the new design and I’m eager to share it with you.

I’ll still be active on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, so feel free to connect with me there. And for those of you who are local, I hope to see you out and about this summer!

Happy Summer,
Bryan

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In the days leading up to Easter, I was eager for Easter to be over. Don’t get me wrong, I love Easter. It’s the day we celebrate the greatest news in all of history. That Jesus Christ is Lord and has risen from the dead! But in the weeks leading up to Easter, I had worked sixteen days straight with only one day off in the mix.

Not only was I exhausted from the two weeks leading up to Easter, but since the beginning of 2017 I’ve been running hard and working lots of long days. It got to the point that in mid-March during a meeting with one of my team members, they looked at me and asked, “So Bryan, when are you going to take some time off for yourself?”

I sheepishly looked down to the floor and smiled one of the those “embarrassment-smiles” and said, “Yeah, I know. I know. I need to make sure I’m taking care of myself.”

Like many pastors, I have a tendency not to take care of myself. Mostly, because I love the work and the people I serve. But sometimes, it’s because I lose sight of the need for self-care and how it’s vital for longevity in ministry.

Fortunately, the week after Easter my family and I were able to pull away for a few days and visit some good friends in another city. After getting back, feeling refreshed from some time away, I had some mental and emotional space to reflect on my exhaustion. During my reflection time, I was drawn to the creation story in Genesis 1 and 2.

I’m always struck by these two chapters of scripture for many reasons. But in this case, two things stuck out in particular. The first is how at the end of a full week of creation, God rests on the seventh day! God, the almighty, all powerful one from whom everything else in the universe flows, even He rests. If it’s important for Him, it’s probably important for me too.

And then, second, on the sixth day of creation, God creates Adam and Eve. When He creates them, He gives them a charge to tend and care for the garden. He gives them jobs and work to do. But their task during their first full day as humans (the seventh day) is NOT to do any of the work God has just assigned them, rather it’s to rest.

At creation, with Adam and Eve, God establishes a rhythm for the first two humans to work from a place of rest.

I’m conditioned to rest from my work. Meaning, I work as hard as I can for as long as I can until I have nothing left and then I crash. But God, from the beginning, teaches us that rest should be a priority, maybe even more of a priority than our work.

For those of you who are reading this who attend our church, I’m not writing this looking for pity or fishing for compliments. But I’m writing it more as a question, “Where, when, and how are you prioritizing rest?” I know that overwork isn’t something reserved only for pastors. There are congregations everywhere full of people who are overworking, driving themselves and their families into the ground.

God takes rest seriously. Rest isn’t only a way to recharge and refresh. It’s also one of the ways we declare our trust in and dependence on God. By stepping away from our work we are making a statement that God has, first and foremost, made us for a relationship with Him rather than our toil.

I’m not saying that I’ve now got this all figured out and will never find myself in the same place again. But now in a new role with more responsibility, I’m beginning to see the need and priority for rest in a new way.

What about you?
Where and when have you seen yourself in a similar place?
What have you learned from those circumstances?
How can you prioritize rest in your schedule?

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These last few weeks have been unusually busy for me. With Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent this past week, leading a marriage workshop with Becky the weekend prior, people in our family getting sick, a 3-year-old birthday to celebrate, and more, these last few weeks have been non-stop and my blog was put on the back burner.

My hope is to start putting out new content again next week. But in the meantime, here are a few quick things that I want to pass along.

  1. Lent: This year for Lent I’ve decided to give up social media. I’ve started to notice a major dependency on my phone that’s pretty unhealthy. The things that I’m drawn to are Facebook and YouTube. Ever since starting on social media over a decade ago, I’ve never been off. This seemed like a good way to create space in my life for Lent.What you will notice is that I’m still going to blog, but I’m not going to be interacting with it. Sorry. That will open up too many temptations to get sucked into all sorts of different social media platforms. You will notice that my blog posts will be posted on Facebook, but that’s because I can automatically share them via my blog and don’t actually have to get on Facebook to post them.
  2. Meadowbrook Church Blog: One of the reasons for my silence on my own blog is because we started a church blog in the last few weeks. I’m excited to have created a place for people in our church to share the stories of what God is doing in their lives. You can check it out here. We hope to be posting every week on Tuesdays.
  3. New Posting Day for My Blog: Now that I’m involved with, and oversee, two different blogs, I’m switching the day that I will be posting on my blog. Those who’ve followed my blog may have noticed that I’ve traditionally posted every Wednesday. In an effort to create some space between posts from our church blog and my blog, I am now going to be posting on Thursdays.

Thanks to everyone who’s been following, reading, and engaging. I’m grateful for your engagement with my blog.

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