By Patti Johnson

Patti has been volunteering with Care for Pastors with The Confidante for Pastors’ Wives for 7 years after she and her husband received counsel from Care for Pastors as a way to give back to the ministry. She joined the Care for Pastors staff in January 2020. Patti is one of the administrators of The Confidante Private Facebook group for pastors' wives and is a regular contributor to weekly blogs. She loves to use her gifts and abilities to support the needs of the ministry. Patti has been married to her Pastor husband Keith for 36 years. They have 3 adult children who all to their delight live in Florida.

    I Plan and God Directs (Part 2)

    Monday, December 05, 2022

    The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9

    When my husband/pastor embarked on a recent 10-week biblical sabbatical, we did it with just that perspective. We planned and we counted on God to direct.

    Now in processing these 10 weeks, I am reflecting on a few things learned.

    Sleeping is different than Resting.

    We found ourselves right in the middle of the trap that because there was a night filled with sleep, that it was the same as the body and mind at rest. We discovered that going right into sleep from activity does not prepare your body or mind for rest, only sleep. A “good night’s sleep” is not the same as a “good night’s rest.” Waking up and getting right to work is different than waking up and planning out the first few hours of your day from a state of rest, not just sleep. We have now adjusted and “prepare for a night of rest,” both for our minds and our bodies.

    Inactivity is not “doing nothing.”

    To the world we may look like we are “sitting doing nothing” but our mind, our emotions, our soul may be pondering, processing, imagining or even dreaming.

    As we stood at the water’s edge and watched the sun sink into the horizon, our bodies were still and our voices silent. But our minds were aware of yet another magnificent display of God’s creativity.

    As we walked along the morning beachside, we silently pondered the reality of the scripture

    Proverbs 8:29 (NIV) “When he gave the sea its boundary so the waters would not overstep his command, and when he marked out the foundations of the earth.”

    The tide had come and gone overnight. It came so far and no further. We saw the evidence of the seaweed riding in on the tide and not breaching over the dunes. We walked along the wide beach of the low tide of morning. Throughout the day, the water rose and ebbed. We sat in inactivity on our beach chairs, but we were not “doing nothing.”

    There is value in “doing the rest tomorrow…or the next day…or the next.”

    We marked out a day to start a rather large project. One we had accomplished in one day before. But this day brought the words “we can do more tomorrow, or maybe the next day after that.” Quite frankly we had never thought to say that before. We had always approached projects with immediate completion in mind.

    Not a journey, not a process, certainly not something to wander or stroll through.

    It ended up being a delightful departure from a chore or task and resulted in an accomplishment we had worked on together and shared in its execution and a job well done.

    Neighbors did not knock on our door and wonder why we were not finishing the task at hand.

    Our muscles did not scream at us as when we would push ourselves beyond reason.

    We actually were able to stop and talk with a neighbor who had recently been widowed. We did not know that until that time we took to break from our work.

    We had taken control and command over our calendar and our expectations.

    We have learned many other lessons, but these are the ones that come to mind first and are firmly set in our minds to carry on with. Perhaps as you look at your 2023 calendar ahead, it is already filling up with plans and projects, but if your take these thoughts into this next year, you might be pleasantly surprised that you can still check off your “to do’s” and enjoy the journey in the process.

    So, like the writer of the Proverbs reminds us:

    The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9

    Let God direct your steps and those steps may very well be restful, contemplative, and unhurried.

    Help us continue providing resources of care for pastors and their families.

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