Ed Stetzer Interviews Adam Mabry on ‘The Art of Rest: Faith to Hit Pause in a World That Never Stops’

Ed: Adam, we’ve known each other for a while, so when I heard that you were writing a book on rest, I was surprised. You’re the embodiment of an East Coast, busy, constantly moving person. How did you end up writing this book?

Adam: Yeah, it made my wife laugh, too. So, here’s how it happened: In 2013, our church was exploding, we launched a new campus, we bought a new (but very old) home that I was remodeling, I was wrapping up a master’s degree, and we had the most sleep-resistant child ever.

After a few months of 60-hour work weeks followed by late night reno sessions, I broke down. My whole life I powered through difficulties by just achieving a bit more. But this time, that didn’t work, and I came close to achieving my own destruction. Depression hit hard, and it lasted for a long while. Learning to set my work down was big part of my recovery from that season.

Fast forward a year or two later, and I’m sitting with my staff. I pitch to them a great idea about a new, church-wide campaign to get our people sharing their faith and serving the city. Bleary-eyed, they informed me that everyone I was leading was pretty tired. It occurred to me that I was powering through again, we’d never studied sabbath as a church, and as it was summer, it was a good time.

So, I changed the plan: summer of sabbath. No big initiatives, no new programs. We were going to learn to rest, together, even though we were all bad at it.

As I researched, I found a lot of long books written by people much older than me, reflecting on sabbath in retirement. But, that’s not where my people (or most people) are. So, after that series, a publisher contacted me about putting my ideas into print. I set out writing a mercifully short, helpful little book on rest, ironically written by a man who achieves a lot and was once quite restless.

Ed: The subtitle of your book is, “Faith to hit pause in a world that never stops.” Why do you think it takes faith to take a break?

Adam: Because giving away your time to slow down and be with God takes trust.

The current pace of the world is crazy. There has never been a generation so serially distracted by busyness. This is having two negative effects. First, our iPhone age with its endless notifications, distractions, and constant stream of news, is making us much more depressed and anxious. And, we’ve now turned busyness into the new status symbol. “I’m just sooo busy,” is the new way to show how important you are.

Turning away from our anxious addiction to technology will take a great deal of effort. Laying down our self-perception as really important will require us to believe that the One for whom we are stopping is worth waiting on. In learning the art of rest, we stepping out in faith that we can do more with our lives if we regularly rest with God than we could if we were relentlessly working.

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Source: Christianity Today