Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Importance of Taking a Break

The stress of a 24/7 society has you deliriously busy and woefully unrested.  The bags under your eyes are growing even while you read this article. Maybe you even read the previous sentence more than once because your fatigue has lightly tossed your brain like a salad at Olive Garden (mmm…breadsticks). Maybe you get distracted easily and find it impossible to focus on work, writing, or even spiritual devotion (mmm…breadsticks). If this is you, I have a wonderful bit of news that will lift the pressure of a nonstop world off your shoulders. But first, let’s talk about how cranky and useless we are!
The problem most of us have is we work too hard. We stay up late and get going early. (Especially us writers) We run ourselves ragged to please and help others. We even overwork ourselves at church because we believe if we don’t do “it” no one else will. The end result after a few short months is a tired and worn out saint that is less effective and probably at some level a little bitter.
We work too hard and too long for a couple of reasons. We could be working long hours at home or at work because we are worried about money. Rest assured God has paid your bills so far, and so long as you are faithful in giving (yeah, I’m talking about that dirty word, tithing) to God, he will bless you. David wrote in Psalm 37:25, “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” David never in his long life saw God not provide for his people. He will do the same for you.
Another reason for workaholism (trust me, it’s totally a word. I was an English major in college) is the aim to please. That is not a bad thing, but without rest you are far less effective at helping others. We want to keep busy so no one can call us sluggards (those guys are NOT looked upon fondly in the Bible).
You absolutely need a break from everything. Take comfort in knowing the world will not stop just because you did. So just stop! Sleep in (this is sincere advice, but a cruel mocking joke if you have young kids). Take a vacation day if you have one. Ban yourself from blogging and writing. Make a ridiculously easy dinner or take the family out to eat. Pretend you have a Kit-Kat bar and give yourself a break.
You can also have a peace knowing when I say/write these things I have Scripture on my side. Exodus 20:9-10a commands Israel “Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work.” Jesus also gave us the gift of rest in Matthew 11:28 when he says “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Practically speaking, the dishes still need to be done, the bills still need to be paid, and the reality of a busy world is all but unavoidable. You need to have “no dishes” day. You need to take a break. You need to try your best to avoid the busy world. If you take time to recharge, you will surely be blessed with more energy, better focus, and you will produce better writing. If that fails, just drink more coffee and keep muddling through on your own. But if you weren’t supposed to take a day off, why did God make a six day work week?
How do you make time for breaks? Do you need one right now? Let us know in the comments.

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