Last week, I took a stay-cation. I stayed home from work so that I could get caught up on all the chores that were nagging at me around the house, things that needed my attention but didn't necessarily have enough time for. Finish back-filling the dirt behind the wall we rebuilt. Plant some flowers in said dirt. Mulch said dirt, and other areas. Buy fish. Put fish in pond. Clean out guest room. Prepare guest room to become nursery. Clean out library. Prepare library to become new guest room. I had seven glorious uninterrupted days to work on these tasks. What did I actually spend those seven days doing?
Breaks are good every now and again. Sometimes we forget in our culture that while our work ethic is admirable, God has commanded us to take time for ourselves and (even more importantly) to take time for God. So I spent my week napping, reading, praying, and playing. I got caught up on shows on Netflix and caught up on my daily devotionals. I took a step back from work (other than a 2 hour excursion for mini-golf, because I didn't want to take the stroke penalty for missing a day on our mini-golf pro tour) and attended to myself.
It was glorious.
Today I'm back in the office, and I have to say even though it is still noticeably summer, and even though there's not a whole lot going on around here, there's a spring in my step that wasn't there before. There's a desire to be creative, to explore new ideas and new ways of teaching/preaching the good news of Jesus to the students that gather here each week. We've been working on discipleship programs for the fall for a few students, and I'm chomping at the bit to get some more of those ideas down on paper. Even though I didn't go anywhere, do anything special (or really anything at all), or make a big splash, a seven day break was enough to re-charge the battery and get my head back in the game.
Have you taken a break yet?
Some of us think that we can go and go and go until we can't go anymore. Somehow we think that's productive. But the truth of the matter is that there's a certain level of productivity to be found in slowing down a little bit, of taking it all in, of trying to gain our footing. Only time will tell for sure, but I'm willing to bet that I can be more productive this week with the amount of rest I've received than I could have in two weeks were I to have stuck around the office last week. There is a counter-intuative way to gain traction by taking a break.
Really this lesson applies to just about anyone, but to those of us in ministry it is crucial. You cannot go forever. You cannot be productive endlessly. It is actually not incredibly selfish to take a break. You'll be glad you did.