When you take a break, be careful where you are!
An eagle sat high up in a tree, just resting and doing nothing—taking a break from soaring in the sky.
A little rabbit observed the eagle and called out, “I really admire how you’re resting up there. Think I can do the same?”
“Sure, why not?” the eagle replied.
So the rabbit sat on the ground at the bottom of the tree. He got himself comfortable. Just resting. Doing nothing,
And along came a fox and he jumped on the rabbit and ate it!
Moral of this quirky story: If you’re going to take a break, make sure you’re sitting very, very high up!
I’ve been pretty stressed lately. In the stress, I’ve caught myself saying, “Give me a break!” I need more planned rest. (Sort of like the old Calgon commercial: “Calgon, take me away!”)
I rationalized that I didn’t have time for a break. Dumb.
It may sound counterproductive, but taking breaks makes us more productive, not less.
In a 2012 article, Phyllis Korkki, a writer for The New York Times, offered words of wisdom about taking breaks. She said taking regular breaks from mental tasks helps us be more productive and creative; and it helps us avoid stress and exhaustion.
She quotes a school of management expert:
“Mental concentration is similar to a muscle, says John P. Trougakos, an assistant management professor at the University of Toronto Scarborough and the Rotman School of Management. It becomes fatigued after sustained use and needs a rest period before it can recover, he explains — much as a weight lifter needs rest before doing a second round of repetitions at the gym.”
We see in scripture that Jesus took breaks in His ministry. In the midst of His busy work, He often withdrew to rest and pray (example: Luke 5:16).
In Addicted to Busy,* author Brady Boyd wrote about Jesus taking many “well-deserved breaks.”
As often as possible, Boyd said, “Jesus withdrew to out-of-the-way places for prayer.”
“He withdraws in order to work through tragic news … to gain insight on important decisions … to enjoy time with his closest companions … as a means of teaching his disciples…
“When He senses it’s time to withdraw, he just goes. … Rhythmic—that’s how Jesus lived. It’s how we’re invited to live too.”
Brady described Jesus’s break strategy as: “engage, engage, engage, withdraw … engage, engage, engage, withdraw.”
We all need R & R (rest and relaxation). Whether a day off, a vacation, or even a short break during our workday, we all need to refresh our energy. We need exercise and sleep, and the luxury of “time off.”
Christ-followers need rhythmic refreshing for more productive, creative ministry. Besides all the things we do for our body and emotions to recharge, we also need prayer and time in the Word of God. We need spiritual refreshing.
“My soul finds rest in God alone” (Psalm 62:1).
Ah yes, rest in God. The perfect remedy for stress.
Is it time for a break? Are you enjoying the rhythmic refreshing of Christ-like living—a pattern the Lord illustrates with His own life?
* Book – Brady Boyd, Addicted to Busy: Recovery for the Rushed Soul (David C. Cook, 2014).
** Painting: © Greg Olsen | www.GregOlsen.com “Worlds without End. Used with permission.
Eagle graphic: morguefile