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?’

P1020274

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.

    thanks.

  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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As I soaked in this breathtaking sunrise this morning above the clouds, I felt compelled to pray for so my places in America and around the world that are experiencing such pain, heartache, injustice, and violence. At times, it feels so overwhelming but in prayer, I was reminded of these words from John 16:33. As we keep striving, working, hoping, preaching, loving, truthtelling, reconciling, repenting, forgiving, dismantling, peacemaking, Kingdom building...may we fix our eyes on Christ: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33 Grateful for a very full weekend of ministry and preaching in Toronto, Canada (GTA). Such a privilege to partner with @worldvisioncan @wvcollective to advocate for the most vulnerable around the world. God is so gracious. A true honor to meet and encourage local pastors, lecture at Tyndale University & Seminary (photo), and preach at Richmond Hills Community Church, Compass Point Bible Church, and New City Church. Thank you, Lord, that you use broken and imperfect people like me to speak of Your love. Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
After an entire summer of laughing it off, it hit us...hard...this week. Seeing all of her stuff laid out on the basement floor was the catalyst to a load of emotions.

After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

Is she ready?
Have we done enough?
Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
And I came home.
And I wept.
Forget my street cred.
I miss her. I love her.
She will always be my little baby.

I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
Happy life. - Eugenius 3:16

I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it. I don't care if it sounds mushy but sunsets are one of my love languages. Seoul, Korea was amazing but WOW...what a breathtaking welcome back sunset by Seattle. Not ready to let go of summer.

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