Decision Fatigue, Rest and Abiding

By Dallas Friesen
Director of Church Life and Leadership

For many of us, summer is an opportunity to slow down, reflect and rest. We like to fill our lives. Often, we fill our lives with activities that keep us going from one thing to another. Our minds regularly feel mentally full.

Various sources estimate that adults make about 35,000 remotely conscious decisions a day. The vast majority of those decisions are small enough that we barely register making them. (Should I add a little more pepper? Should I wear sandals or shoes? Should I push through the amber light or stop?) However, there are also days or seasons in our modern world where we are required to make lots of conscious decisions which often leads to decision fatigue.

I often struggle with decision fatigue. After I have made a lot of decisions in a day or week or particularly busy season of ministry, the quality of my decision-making goes down. Sometimes I am aware this is happening because I find it more difficult to make a decision or I get sloppy with my word choices. Sometimes instead of responding with a gentle word, I become a bit more impatient.

We make so many decisions each day that it’s no wonder Jesus told us, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matt. 6:34) God gave us rhythms of rest as a gift. To be optimal we need the daily rhythm of sleep and a weekly rhythm of sabbath.

In John 15 we are invited to abide in Christ. Abiding in Christ is a mark of a disciple. Disciples of Jesus have seasons of work and fruitfulness which can include working with hands in a field, caring for children, making decisions in a corporate office or serving in a congregation. Disciples of Jesus also build rhythms of abiding which include slowing down, resting, reflecting and remaining in Christ.

Let’s be honest—building healthy rhythms of abiding and fruitfulness is tough stuff and it is part of the journey of living as disciples of Jesus.

Here are a few reflection questions that I sometimes use:

  • What do I need to pay attention to to avoid succumbing to decision fatigue?
  • Am I building healthy rhythms of rest and abiding in my daily, weekly and annual routine?
  • Are there decisions before me, big or small, that I am not bringing to God?
  • Can I bless someone else in their journey with decision fatigue in a way that might support them in their discipleship?

As we head into summer, my prayer for my fellow CBOQ family members:

  • May you find moments of deep rest this summer
  • May you be reminded that God’s provision is sufficient
  • May you be captivated by the promise that discipleship is a journey of fruitfulness (work) and abiding (rest)

Here are two follow-up ideas for your congregation to consider.

Could your congregation develop greater communal practices of rest? In June, every CBOQ congregation received a resource called Thrive: discover your congregations calling and flourish in it. Part of a congregation’s journey towards flourishing involves responding to God’s call through action; part of it involves building a culture of resting. Check out Thrive here.

Could your pastor use time for rest and reflection this fall? In November, we will be hosting a pastors’ getaway called Reignite. For more information or to register,click here.



One thought on “Decision Fatigue, Rest and Abiding”

  1. Thank-you Dallas, for the wonderful reminder that all life requires a rhythm of rest. At times I struggle to remember that and yet when I am intentional in doing so there is such joy and clarity in my day-to-day tasks. And a renewed awareness of who I am in Christ. There is rest for the weary.

    Thanks Dallas – have an awesome God week.

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