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  • Writer's pictureAlice J Stewart

Take Five to Thrive

Main Idea: Rest helps you learn during rapid change.


I have lived all over the world. I have an advanced degree that taught me to land in a foreign country, learn a language, learn a culture, and then professionally and scientifically describe that culture.

Take it from me; this is utterly exhausting work. Far more tiring than we assume it should be. Why? Because most of our lives we putter around on autopilot.

We assume certain things won't change, and we're usually right. We presume our usual responses to situations will be appropriate. And we're usually right. If something new pops up, we have the resources to deal with it.

But in a new country, especially with a new language, all bets are off. We have to think about everything. Nothing can be assumed. Everything is unique, and we must learn new responses that still may not be appropriate. The tools we have won't work in the new context, and it takes time and energy and concentration to learn new tools.

I find I need a lot more sleep during the first six months of living in a new country. I find this is a vital strategy if I'm going to succeed.

Over the last week, we have all been living in a foreign country. Everything has changed. Sometimes just a bit, and sometimes a lot. There are a lot of new things to learn, and the learning curve is steeper for some of us, especially in the church. Much of our church lives are face-to-face. We don't need much technology. And most of us are older, retired, or just low-tech folks.

So I want to encourage you to give yourself a break. Take naps.

Really. During sleep, your mind sorts things through and learns. During sleep, your subconscious files away information so you can return to automatic-pilot. And that's an excellent thing. We don't do well when we're "on" all the time.

Encourage your church leadership to rest as well. They're learning on the fly. They already had a mountain of work to do, and now they've got more. They're tired and may not even know it. They're exhausted and may think there's something wrong with them because this is harder than it should be.

At least one nap a day will help. Take it from someone who has been "here" before - although not in these specific circumstances.

There are a million helpful things on the internet right now to help churches. They can all wait until after a nap.

So go and encourage your leadership as well. Then tell me how you feel afterward.

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