Reading time: two minutes. Whew! You’ve survived another Advent and Christmas season. I hope (and I have been praying diligently in recent weeks) that this holy season has been a time of enrichment and blessing not just for those you serve in your ministry, but also for you and your family. If it was, then you’ve learned how to carve out a little space for yourself. You’ve taken time for your personal devotional life. You’ve remembered not only to lead others in worship of God made flesh among us, but to worship our King yourself. You’ve made time for your own family and honored your spouse and children, if you are so blessed, with your presence, your love and your blessing. Epiphany is that little “in between” period as Lent begins in a few short weeks. I remember well how precious these few weeks were to me over the years of pastoral ministry. Maybe this pause between the extra effort required of us in the Christmas and Easter seasons is a good lesson on creating a little space all the way through the year.You know well the Lord’s instruction about the Sabbath rest and the years of Jubilee. All of God’s creation, His trees, His good earth and especially we His children, were created to produce, but to pause, to breath, to refresh and renew along the way. What’s your plan for rest and renewal this year? What practices will you set in place to be sure that by being fully rested, you can give yourself fully to your ministry this year? Church workers are especially susceptible to the tendency to what I call “over-functioning.” We’re passionate about the mission. The eternal well fare of souls is at stake. There is always another call to make, another family to visit, another program or ministry to be initiated or strengthened. It takes a sharp saw to cut down all the trees that lie before us this year. I hope you’re finding ways to sharpen your saw. I know I’m at my best when I’m well-rested and well-fed. A lot of the work you and I are involved in is creative work and it’s hard to be at our creative best when we’re backed up to deadlines, when our bodies, our minds and our spirits are tired. But like a fruit tree that is watered, pruned and bathed in sunlight, you and I produce more fruit when we are cared for and tended to. As a New Year dawns, look across your weekly schedule, your seasonal agenda and your annual calendar and see if you can create some space for rest, refreshment and renewal along the way. Everyone benefits when you do. God’s richest blessings to you in this new season of God’s grace! Thanks for reading. Are you interested in helping bring a Grace Place Wellness Retreat to your region? We’d love to hear from you. Contact our President/CEO Randy Fauser today to begin exploring the possibilities. Let’s have a conversation about bringing our Church Worker Retreat to your area soon!