Want to know a surprising key ingredient to making things happen?
Taking a break from making things happen.
It sounds counterproductive. How can you make things happen if you aren’t spending all of your time and energy making them happen? It’s something that sounds soft and lazy when in the context of “work,” but isn’t it true in every other area of life?
Can you run hard for 12 hours straight without stopping for fuel/water/air?
Can you use your cell phone for days and days without recharging the batteries?
Can you drive your vehicle for weeks at a time without stopping to fill up on gas?
Clearly, you can’t do any of those things. You can’t run for 12 hours without stopping. You can’t leave your cell phone off the charger for a few days and expect it to work. You can’t drive indefinitely without eventually needing to stop for gas.
So why do we think we can – and should – work, work, work, without ever stopping for a real break?
There’s a reason why God created the whole world in 6 days and rested on the 7th. There’s a reason why keeping a sabbath, one day to do nothing but recharge and reconnect with the Lord, is a priority all across scripture.
If God rested, and if He commands us to rest as well, why do we feel so guilty about it? Why does it seem like a luxury, not a necessity?
Perhaps in the healthy spirit of entrepreneurship, our culture has gone one step too far. Perhaps we’ve taken a good thing (hard work, big goals, big achievements) and turned it into an object of worship, an identity. There seems to be a certain pride associated with being busy and exhausted. If you are neither of those things then you must not be working hard enough, or so it seems.
This conversation isn’t meant to be an indictment. Trust me, I’ve been the president of this club, and sometimes (too many times) I still sit on the board of directors. But I know that for me, when I find my identity in how many hours I work and how spent I am, my priorities are way out of line. When I find worth in what I can do in my own strength, not what the Lord can do through His strength, I become self-focused rather than God-focused, and that just messes everything up.
Taking a true rest is an exercise in humility and faith for me. Do I really believe that if I honor God’s commandment to take a break once a week that He will provide the time and resources to get all my other “stuff” done? Do I think that I am wiser than God and can more effectively expedite in 7 days what He can do in 6 days? Do I really want to surrender my time, my schedule, my to-do list, my life to Him?
This is why rest is so important. It’s so much more about surrender than anything else.
But it’s also important because humans are not robots (insightful moment of the day – you’re welcome). We can’t continually move at full speed ahead without burning out. There is so much truth in this quote:
“Take a rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.” – Ovid
To really make things happen, you have to take regular, beneficial breaks from making things happen. Daily, it can be scheduling time for a walk outside or connecting with a friend. Weekly, it’s taking one day a week to truly rest. Monthly/yearly, it’s about getting away from your surroundings and refreshing your perspective with a new place or experience.
This weekend, I took this theory to the bank. It started out unintentionally, but I ended up spending most of the weekend recharging from a long couple of weeks. Here’s what that looked like:
dinner with lauren at this month’s new Rochester restaurant – post (and rave) coming soon!
saturday morning breakfast with the gilmores
getting my favorite ice cream (bruster’s graham central station!) with smash
buying this season’s first strawberries (!!!)
watching the best thing in (non-NFL) sports : game 7
spending sunday afternoon in kitchen productivity, mass producing meals for the rest of the week
taking multiple long walks around my beautiful neighborhood in the perfect almost-summer weather
Not pictured but equally beneficial: catching up on my favorite blogs, reading bits and pieces of a few magazines, spending time with the Lord at church and on the drive to and from, connecting with people I love on skype, pouring buckets of sweat into P90x workouts, listening to new and old music, just all around loving life.
And you know what? I feel abundantly better than I did a few days ago. It’s the miracle of rest. Give it a try and watch it work wonders!
Have you signed up for The Challenge?! If not, here’s your chance!
2. DO The Challenge! It’s a 10 Step process that will set you up for success in every area of life.
3. During The Challenge, you will receive email encouragement from me and a nice surprise in the mail when you successfully complete all 10 Steps (and you will successfully complete all 10 Steps!).
4. One lucky duck will win a prize package, announced at the completion of The Challenge.
Time is starting to run out, so let’s get moving!!!