Eugene Cho

need to learn to rest well

P1020272I’ve been a recovering work-aholic for many years now.  About 14 years ago, my schedule was such that I was on an airplane flight every single week, preaching at multiple services, teaching at a Christian college, and present at the early morning prayer service at 5am every day (except Sunday).  So, when people think I’m busy now, I just laugh and say, “Not really…”

Busyness isn’t my problem. After nearly 39 years of living life, I still haven’t learned to rest well…

And as a result, I just need to get away to uncoil. And while it was a short amount of time, the family and I got away for 24 hours right after church.  It’s been an intense couple weeks that I’ll share more about later but it was good to get away.

  • Breathe.
  • Pray.
  • Be reminded of your love for your family.
  • Be reminded of God’s love for me.
  • Breathe some more.
  • Pray.

No phone or internet. And that was nice. But did manage to take couple snaps. I love the picture above. Just laid down and stared at the clouds above…

I know that I’m doing so much better in comparison to my workaholic tendencies – especially compared to my years past. But even though I’m not working as much, I know that I need to learn to rest well.

Does that make sense?

The staff at our church are encouraged to go on a day retreat once/month and I haven’t been very faithful with that.  Need to rest well.

We’re all busy and have responsibilities…

so what do you do to ‘rest well?’


Jesus often if not always went away to rest, pray, and reflect. I think it’s clear that Jesus was busy, sought after, tempted, pulled in numerous directions, and clearly on a very important world and cosmic changing vision but he always took time to rest.

As often as possible Jesus withdrew to out-of-the-way places for prayer. (Luke 5:16/The Message)

And so, I have to think:

If Jesus – fully God who also chose to be fully human – saw that it was good and necessary to rest – how much more do we need to withdraw to out of the way places for prayer, rest, and reflection?

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21 Responses

  1. chrismarlow says:

    I just posted on this myself. Its esp hard in Texas…No beach, mountains etc. I’ve really struggled with it. But, its vital to find rhythms of rest and work.

  2. Jan Owen says:

    I try to remember that resting is part of worship – it is proclaiming by how I live for a period of time that I am not God! I am the created, not the Creator. I am not in control and the world does not revolve around me. God can handle it!

    I’ve also learned that it’s about resting in His love for me – in other words, it’s an issue of trust for me. Do I trust God enough to rest in his love? Can I just put life down for a bit and be with Him and trust that this is sufficient? No need to succeed, achieve, accomplish, just to be.

    I try to go away once a month for a day and several times a year for 3 days. I can’t live without it – or at least I should not.

  3. I’m still learning how to rest/relax well. Had a heart attack in May, so it was a wake up call from God, to slow down, and learn to relax.

    I’m very blessed to be here typing this e-mail. I’m healing and slowly recovering. Catching up on reading, walking (but need to walk some more!) Thankfully, the weather in this region is nice right now, so I can take in some nature to relax.

    Quiet prayer and resting is helping me a lot. Praying we all learn how to rest well!

    Blessings on your day!

  4. Kathie McCarthy says:

    I’ve always liked to go against the grain. Resting feels radical (given where and when we live). That helps me do it a tiny bit more.

    Something about turning 50 changed the look of the path ahead. It became finite. Its not all out ahead of me anymore. So, best make the most of what is.

    It also became more like dust and less like gold. Meaning whatever good I do or don’t do in the world, its still a speck of dust in the big picture. That helps a tiny bit too.

    “Who am I trying to impress?”or “who do I think I am that I have to be so busy?” sometimes helps me knock it off too. I mean really! This pace is killing us actually. Or at least making true living rather impossible.

  5. Eugene Cho says:

    @jan owen: i think the holy spirit rebuked me through your post.


  6. I am a workaholic…love to work. Am terrible at being “off.” I did take 2 days off from church over 4th of July. I didn’t know what to do with myself for the first day. If I’m not “producing” therefore I don’t know what to do. Rest is in order. I’m 33 and now starting to figure that out!

  7. Darlene says:

    I learned the hard way that the I am most effective and get more done when I take time to rest. I seem to have to learn this repeatedly though. Reading “Leading on Empty” by Wayne Cordeiro recently helped tremendously – every pastor should have a copy in my opinion.

  8. RL says:

    Remove yourself from all technology, all friends family and acquaintances, no clocks or calendars, take a Bible, NO study notes, just the Word, and disappear. Let the Holy Spirit lead, no schedule for reading or praying. Let only one person know the general area where you will be and swear them to secrecy. DO NOT take a cell phone. Your in the North West, plenty of places to hide.Like Peter said.

  9. @RL, was just about to say that. Had to take a laptop on a recent tour of various places in Europe that ended with a few days which were meant to be relaxing, but actually ended up being really hard work as I found myself logging in in spare moments between touristy stuff.

  10. chad m says:

    Mike Yaconelli [R.I.P.] suggests building a day off per week for nothing but silence, solitude, Scripture, prayer, and rest. this is in addition to the days off we should be taking! i just wish i could make myself do it and the church would allow it…hmmmm. maybe they would if we asked!

  11. Megan says:

    Hmm…I have absolutely no trouble resting. I set my boundaries for work and never let it cross those boundaries. My most recent rest was a week-long river trip in the desert, which I highly recommend.

  12. Jan Owen says:

    Eugene, You’d have to know me – and my story – to appreciate how hard this has been for me. I am a certified over achieving workaholic, so this has been a painful, tearful process for me. I found that I was finding my worth in achievements in ministry and solitude and sabbath (as well as a long sabbatical) helped me with this. But it is a constant and consistent struggle. I find myself lapsing into “doing for God” without “being with God” (or even becoming like Christ!) all the time. Every single day.

    Rest well my friend!

  13. Tyler says:

    This hits home right now Eugene.

  14. Maxine says:

    I totally agree. I know that when I’m feeling particularly restless (unwilling to sit down and reflect), that I’m MOST in need of it. Lately for me it’s been curling up with a good book, but even that can be distracting from just spending QT with Daddy.

  15. elderj says:

    I am not a workaholic (thanks be to God) but certainly that doesn’t translate into being restful either (Lord have mercy).

    There is a reason why the Lord commanded sabbath for all creation. It was made for us, and not we for it. Regular rest from labor forces us to remember who is God and who is not (us). Unfortunately for us ministry types we often fudge, ok outright violate that command with impunity while telling ourselves, “it’s okay because it’s God work,” which is really only a way of living atheistically.

    I put retreat days on my calendar at least twice every semester, but would always fail to keep them. Recently some team mates and I have started having joint “prayer and quiet days” where we go away and spend 6 hours alone together (if that makes any sense). I think things like that are helpful, as is choosing to say, never do work on Saturday unless its an emergency and dedicating that time just for family. Intentional rest is a discipline that preachers, above all, must practice, not for what it does for us, but because its productive, but because it isn’t.

  16. elderj says:

    * “not for what it does for us; not because its productive, but because it isn’t”

    — can’t type today.

  17. Krista says:

    Thanks for the reminder!

  18. Rachel says:

    I struggle with guilt when I rest, especially if the rest is not intentional. I have to remind myself that taking a break is OK, even if I did think I should be working on something.

  19. Moms need rest too. And there are different kinds of rest. I don’t have to be at work till 11, but I’m meeting a friend for coffee because I need it so much. And so does she!

  20. […] what’s your go to place of rest? One of the painful and joyful lessons I learned (again) last year was the importance of “resting well.” […]

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the action of working with someone or a group of others  to produce or create something.

May we hold our logos, egos, and tribalism have their place. May we hold them loosely for they too shall pass. May we collaborate for the sake of the greater Kingdom of God ... which endures forever. As we honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., don't forget the God behind the man. The one true God who deposited this dream into MLK is still speaking to us today. Are we listening?

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Being invited by the King Family to speak at the MLK worship service at Ebenezer Baptist Church in 2016 remains one of the most unexpected honors of my life. On the right is his daughter, Dr. Bernice King and his sister, Dr. Christine King Farris. Walking throughstreet markets in different parts of the world is the best. Soaking in the culture. Listening to the local language and music. Enjoying the amazing cuisine. Meeting new friends. Praying for the Gospel to penetrate. #ChiangRai Blessed be the local, indigenous leaders for it is they who live in the very communities they seek to love. For it is they who understand their context and culture...better than a Westerner ever will. For it is they who will continue to tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love when visitors like me leave.

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Photo: @benjaminedwards Part 2 on my wrestling with the complex issue of human trafficking. In part, documenting my trip to Thailand for listen, learn, and visit one of our partner orgs @thefreedomstory. More to come.

There's such painful and poignant irony in pursuing justice...unjustly. One way we do this is when we reduce people into projects...and thus, propagating the dangerous power dynamic of US as heroes and THEM as helpless and exclusively as victims. So dangerous.

Human trafficking is not just an issue. It’s ultimately, about people. Depending on the sources of statistics, there are anywhere from 29-40 million people in some form of forced labor and slavery, including sex trafficking.

And one thing I’ve learned, personally, is how easy it is easy to reduce people into projects which is why mutuality, reciprocity, and dignity are so vital. These are critical because God never intended people to be reduced into projects.

We forget this and we indirectly foster a culture and system of victimization or worse, the pornification of the poor or in this case, "the trafficked." And when you start dehumanizing the poor or trafficked, you have no genuine desire to build relationships with them. You believe or build stereotypes in broad strokes, singular, black and white narratives that have been told about them. You believe the lie that they have nothing to teach us and are incapable of contributing to the larger society.

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