An energy account is a savings account of your energy reserves.  Just like your financial savings account, your energy account can be in the black with a positive balance or in the red, meaning you are overdrawn.  Every day you are either making deposits or withdrawals of energy from your energy account.  Unfortunately, many leaders are great at making withdrawals to meet the demands of everyday life and active ministry, but are very poor at making compensatory deposits that are large enough to return their account to a healthy balance.  Living an “overdrawn” life leaves you vulnerable to physical illness, strained relationships, poorer decision-making, and ultimately feeling spiritually bankrupt.  Sleep, in general, and Sabbath, in particular, are part of God’s plan to help you maintain a positive balance in your energy account so that you can remain vibrant in life and ministry.  Sleep and Sabbath are two kinds of “rest”.  You may have other kinds of “rest” that have been neglected or overdrawn, which add to your main energy account.  The solution to an overdrawn life may not necessarily be more sleep. You may need other kinds of rest. 

What changes can you make to gradually show a positive balance in your energy account? 

Thrive in Five 

  1. Conduct an audit of your energy account.  Saundra Dalton-Smith identified seven types of rest: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, sensory, and creative.  You can have too much of a good thing or too little (e.g., you can sleep too little or too much).  Definitions for the first 5 are somewhat obvious.  Sensory rest is taking a break from over-stimulation or under-stimulation of any of your five senses.  Creative rest is giving your creativity space for expression in any medium that helps you to feel restored and alive.  Rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 for each of the 7 types of rest, with 10 being “sufficient balance” in this rest for your personal needs, and 1 being a zero balance.    What can you learn about your rest needs?   
  2. Develop a rest budget.  As you presently know yourself, decide what a reasonable “rest budget” would look like at this moment in time so that you can maintain a positive energy balance.  Your rest budget will flex with your season of life and ministry.  For example, Christmas and Easter may make more demands on you, so you may be making more withdrawals than deposits during these seasons.  A new baby in the family also means you will have more withdrawals [and less sleep].  Knowing this in advance allows you to carve “rest” into your schedule prior to or following these busy seasons.  What does your rest budget look like?
  3. Start small, but do start.  Few people can sustain big changes for extended periods of time. You are more likely to be successful if you identify one type of rest at a time and make small plans and small steps to bring this account into a positive balance.  For example, if “creative rest” is your target, what type of creativity gives you energy?  What tools will you need?  Can you create a plan of action for one type of rest?
  4. Ruthlessly take control of your schedule.  If you wait until you find time to rest, you will never rest.  Our rest suffers because someone or something else is determining the pace of our day/week/month/year/life.  You will have to make time – intentionally.  This may mean saying “no” to some things to make time for “rest”.  Perhaps the most accessible place to start is to identify your time robbers and use the time in a different way.  Where will you adjust your schedule to create space for rest?
  5. Gather support.  You will need support from family, friends, and ministry partners to make and take time for rest consistently.  Supportive others may join you in some of your rest activities, or they may help you protect the time you have set aside for rest.  Who will you ask to support you in resting? 


Peter Scazzero, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, Chapter 6: Discover the Rhythms of the Daily Office and Sabbath, Zondervan, 2017 

Why It’s Important to Allow Yourself to Rest. 

There are 7 types of rest.  Which do you need most? 



Emotional contributor: Virginia T. Holeman, PhD., LMFT, LPCC, Retired Chair of the Department of Counseling and Pastoral Care, Asbury Theological Seminary
Executive editor: Johanna Rugh
Curator of content: Carla Working