When Cynthia and I were in youth ministry we started this Wednesday night program called S.T.O.P. (Simple Time Of Peace). It was simply an opportunity for our kids to come in for an hour on a Wednesday night and just stop. To just rest. We told them that if they needed to sleep then do that. If they wanted to read, then read. If they wanted to write or get creative, there was tools available for them to do that.
This kind of flew in the face of youth ministry programming then. While everyone else was adding more and more events and attracting kids by all these high energy programs we said let’s stop.
At first it didn’t go so well. Kids (and parents) wanted programs. They wanted fun. They wanted more. But, eventually kids started coming. Their parents started to see the change in their kids who had now had an opportunity to stop, to slow down, to rest, to calm down and refocus. It was pretty cool to see that shift.
As I sit here on a Monday, my day of rest, my day for S.T.O.P. I’m reminded of how important it is to slow down. We live in a culture that says, “Get as much done as you can, as soon as you can, so you can do more.” I’m not against multi-tasking and working hard and getting things done. That’s important.
But, if we never stop, never slow down, our lives will quickly spiral out of control. If we don’t control our calendar, then someone or something else will. Don’t let that happen. I’ve been there. Burnt out. No light at the end of the tunnel and not really sure how to fix it.
Create some S.T.O.P. space in your life. Some space and time where you can simply refuel and recharge. If you don’t see how you could possibly fit any kind of space like that into your schedule then quit something. Chances are you’re not doing it well enough anyway because you’re overworked.
I really believe that a regular time to slow down and stop will not only give you a chance to refuel, but it will also increase your productivity.
Do you have S.T.O.P. regularly? What are some of the most rest-filled activities you have found?