Tag Archives: Relaxation

Give Me a Break!

12 Mar

When you take a break, be careful where you are!

EagleInTree_morguefileAn 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.”


Painting by Greg Olson **

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).

We find rest in the presence of God (Exodus 33:14; Psalm 62:5Matthew 11:28).

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


Circle Some Dates for God

17 Jan

Did you catch some of the calendars for the New Year? Besides all the beautiful landscape, travel, personality, inspirational quotes and scripture calendars, I saw:

  • A Slim Dog Life calendar (I thought it was a doggie diet calendar, but it’s really adorable greyhound drawings for each month)FailedPrototypeCalendar
  • A Camel calendar called “Shadows in the Sand” with photos of camels in the desert
  • A Geocaching calendar
  • A “Year of Squirrels” calendar (with a Squirrel crossing on the cover)
  • A “Not So Humble Pi” calendar (with math cartoons)
  • A “Whatever” calendar
  • A “Brains – 25 cents” calendar (actually, filled with weird signs from across America)
  • A Sock Monkey calendar, and
  • A hilarious “Failed Prototypes” calendar (inventions that didn’t make the cut  … like a light bulb with a candle inside, a calculator with an abacus on the front, and a cell phone with all the gadgets from a Swiss Army Knife attached)

So many funny ones. (Other calendars I saw were trash. Nasty. A waste of paper.)

I ended up buying a calendar with inspirational quotes for one room, and a scripture calendar for another. As I write this, I look over one of my new “filled in” calendars and realize how easy it is to cram full our days with meetings, tasks, responsibilities, events – things we love to do and things we must do – and not to plan in time for God or His good gift of rest. There’s Sunday, of course, and other church-related gatherings. RedeemingTheTimeClock_FocusBut God wants more of our time. It’s all His anyway. The Psalmist said, “Hour by hour I place my days in your hand…” (Psalm 31:15, The Message).

One of the ways we “redeem the time” (Ephesians 5:16) is to spend it wisely. We plan for times for work, ministry, God and family, but some of us don’t plan enough time for rest and renewal. I know I don’t. And it’s pretty obvious when I’ve reached my limit.

I long for quiet times of retreat, don’t you? As I look over the busyness of my life – the things ahead beyond my control as well as  activity choices I’ve made – I sense God saying, “Plan times to come apart with Me, because I care about you and I don’t want you to fall apart.”

God doesn’t want us to “overdo” and stretch our labors in “anxious toil;” He gives the blessing of sleep to His beloved children (Psalm 127:2) – even though we may have some sleepless nights. But in our culture (or maybe, because some of us have Type A personalities), busyness is the norm. More than ever, we need to cultivate times of rest…. times of quietness … times of meditation with God.

So … I’ll be speaking in workshops in early March at a conference center, and I plan to take some time in between those workshops to “get away.” IMG_8904But I also need planned “retreat days” too. One definition of the word retreat is, “a period of seclusion, retirement or solitude, especially to pray, meditate, or study.” In military terms, it’s a time of falling back … a time to regroup and rethink before entering the battle again.

God spoke to my heart today:  “You are in a battle. You are serving me today with eternity in mind and leading others to do the same. You desperately need times to retreat so you won’t burn out in the battle.”

Is God saying that to you too?

Let’s seek God together this year and be sensitive to His voice – especially when He says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

Let’s circle some special days on our calendar just for Him.

– Dawn

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