Jesus Says Take A Break

You need a break.      

I know you hate this idea, and so do I, but you really need to take a break.

Everyone around you is multi-tasking, phone-apping, book-cramming, reading or scheduling or building or flying – and you suspect they’re all more productive than you, so you’re pushing, sweating, clenching, bleeding to get this done. 

But you: you really need a break.

God commands rest.  How could He command rest?  I’d rather read my Bible and fight for the offering plate than REST.

Many of us have bought into the neurotic productivity of American Do-Ism, and it seems like everyone is inventing something, starting a grassroots nonprofit, going to the gym four times a day, cooking immaculate meals, hiking to Europe in their backyard; so no, I won’t take a break, I can’t take a break, I have to keep up or shut up.

But a funny thing happens when you refuse God’s commands. Those commands, by the way, are not demands, but a vision of how you work best. When they’re not followed, the very core of your humanity can break down. You can probably already feel it: the restlessness, the twitchiness, the constant checking of your phone. 

God knows how we’re made.  He knows that if I don’t take a break today, and tomorrow, and for a long time, that I’ll eventually consume more energy than I can create and my spirit will be crushed.  It won’t be any one thing on my schedule or any one exam or any one person: but the accumulated weight will be too much to bear, and I’ll either melt down or check out.

You probably saw this coming, but:

Your spirit needs a break, or life will break you.

I know your fear as much as mine is that we think we have to keep moving or the world will spin out of orbit.  At least your world or my world will.  I know there are demands, due dates, and deadlines on your life.  But do you know what happens when you just pause and back up?  The sky doesn’t fall on you.  The world doesn’t explode.  Things still get done.  You can gain perspective again.  You can see what’s important, what needs priority, what isn’t and what does not.  And you can re-enter the fray, refreshed and ready to go. 

Jesus called himself the Sabbath.  He said, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.”  He called himself the Living Water.  If you’ve ever ran cold water over hot bruised hands, you know how good it is.  Nothing is better than water: no straw, no flavor, just water.

Set aside time for a break.  Don’t feel guilty for being non-productive.  You need time for yourself.  Keep your phone in the car and find a nice spot.  You don’t need to pray or read Scripture or intake anything: just breathe, unfurl your fists, and be thankful to God.  Look around you, soak in the colors.  It’s okay if you fall asleep. 

Take five minutes, an hour, three, six.  If you really need to, re-start that book you’ve been meaning to read.  Focus on a couple Bible verses, say what you’re grateful for, don’t think of the past or future.  Be in the now.  Re-engage and be present, because the Lord knows we can keep up autopilot if we’re left to ourselves.

You need a break.  Fight for rest and don’t let anyone else in.

This is you-and-God time.

— J.S.

Photo by D. Ballard

5 thoughts on “Jesus Says Take A Break

  1. Really appreciate this post today. I just finished several go-go days & had another planned, but the old motor just wouldn’t crank. Instead of “seeking a jump” I had dediiced to take a break. your post was my confirmation.


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