Rest and Self-Care in Leadership

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matt. 11:28, NIV.

Landing in Kathmandu Nepal’s capital was quite an experience. The plane had to find the best corridor to land between high mountains, and with bad weather it was almost impossible to see the ground. Later, traveling by car through the countryside I learned that Nepal is the land of hills. Land is a principal source of income and employment for a majority of households in Nepal. The hilly landscape is both a natural and cultural mosaic, shaped by geological forces and human activity. The hills, sculpted by human hands into a massive complex of terraces, are extensively cultivated.

The women are part of the scenery. They carry heavy loads of rice up and down, doing a work that few men can do. Meeting the women in the villages, I asked them to allow me to try carrying one of their twenty-five-kilo loads (about 55 pounds) on my head as they easily do. They smiled, saying that I could not handle the weight. I insisted on trying, but I could walk only a few meters. When I asked how they do it, one of the women replied, “You do not feel the weight anymore as the years go by.” When I asked if she was tired, she looked puzzled. I understood that perhaps this precious woman never had a chance to really know what rest is.

Seldom a day passes that I do not hear someone say, “I’m so tired I can hardly function." A major cause of weariness is the burdens we carry around: physical difficulties, emotional conflict, loss of loved ones, financial or business reversals, feelings of hopelessness. Whatever the burden, it may rest like a heavy weight on our shoulders, crushing us. You alone know what your burdens may be. The important thing is what we do about them.

If you are feeling compelled to do so much that you are physically worn out, you may be driven instead of led. Remember, you have to come apart from a busy routine before you come apart yourself. It may be tempting to do everything that everybody else is doing, to be involved in everything, know everything, hear everything, and be everywhere, but that isn't God's best for you. Be willing to “come.” Spend time with God, and ask Him to give order to your day. What are you carrying today that doesn't belong to you? What worry, concern, burden, anxiety are you carrying that only Jesus can carry?

God has a request to make of us today: “Come to me and I will give you rest.” Take your burdens to Him. Let His presence refill and refresh you.

Written by Raquel Arrais, associate director, General Conference Women's Ministries

Published in Mosaic, 2017 Q2