Exodus 20:8-11 (NLT)8 “Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
9 You have six days each week for your ordinary work,10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the LORD your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you.11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.
Shabbat is the original Hebrew word for our English word sabbath. It comes from the root Shin-Beit-Tavand means “to cease, to end, to rest.”
The Bible says that those who will not rest are disobedient.
Exodus 31:14 (NKJV) You shall keep the Sabbath, therefore, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people.
Deuteronomy 5:12 (NKJV)12 'Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the LORD your God commanded you.
Rest doesn’t come naturally to us. In order for us to truly rest we have to trust that God will take care of things for us.
Since we refuse to rest, as God commands, we should thank Him that He has put a mechanism in place that signals us that it just may be time to slow down and obey. That mechanism is burnout.
- Physical burnout can be triggered by a lack of exercise, physical effects of stress and sleeplessness. The overloaded schedule and stressful lives cause you forget to exercise, you eat unhealthy foods, and sleep less. If left unchecked, physical burnout can cause a weakened immune system, aches and pains, a change in appetite, and feeling tired all the time.
- Relational burnout is related to emotional burnout and can be caused by strained relationships. Constant interactions with energy draining people make you unusually susceptible for this type of burnout. Physical exhaustion and drama between between others can make you isolate yourself to get a break from relationships that drain your energy.
- Emotional burnout can be felt when you feel like you don't have anyone you can go to when you are anxious, or stressed out. This type of burnout can wreak a family because of the feelings of isolation. Emotional burnout can numb your ability have normal emotions and have a sense of failure and self-doubt.
- Spiritual burnout happens when you neglect your own spiritual life while trying to pour into the lives of others. Many of us do not have anybody pouring into our lives and we do not seek the life and strength of God for spiritual refreshment. If you don’t spend time with God through prayer or Scripture reading, you may be suffering from spiritual burnout!
Signs That You May Need A Break
Here are some signs that you may be pushing too hard and that you need a break.
1. Dreading the Day
Dreading the day is often the first sign that it is time to step back and take a break. When you dread the day ahead you think, “I don’t want to do it!”, “I can’t do it!”, or “It’s too much!” Life feels impossible and overwhelming. You feel unqualified, unequipped, or unprepared.
The definition of dread is “to fear greatly” or “to feel extreme reluctance to meet or face.” So fear could really be the catalyst for your dread. When you feel this way remember
2 Corinthians 12:8-9 NLT Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.
Dread inevitably leads me to procrastination. Procrastination causes paralysis because the longer you wait to start the more work builds up and feelings of dread continue. It’s a cycle that’s hard to break.
Ecclesiastes 11:4 NLT Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant. If they watch every cloud, they never harvest.
Discipline helps break the cycle.
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3. Inability to Focus
A mind racing with to-do lists blocks your ability to focus. It’s hard to be present, you forget important information. This is a sign that it’s time to take a break.
Proverbs 16:3 NLT Commit your actions to the Lord , and your plans will succeed.
If we're honest we don't commit our work to the Lord often enough. We put on our agenda tasks that we think we need to get done instead of tasks that the Lord has laid on our heart to do.
Try praying over each part of your day. This will help you recognize what needs to get done versus what you want to get done. It also helps you to anticipate inevitable interruptions so that you don't become agitated by them as easily.
Another sign that you need to step back and take a break is irritability. When you feel agitated in traffic, defensive on social media, or impatient with others you need to make some changes. Those seemingly minor irritations are misdirected coping mechanisms. For example, in your road rage, you take your anger out on strangers with whom I can get away with it because they’re in their car, and you're in yours, so there are no repercussions. You do that because it’s not productive to take my anger out on my schedule plus it’s more complicated to take it out on someone in your life or address it with someone you're actually angry with.
When you catch yourself being irritated be quiet. It's when you start talking that things get worse.
Proverbs 29:11 NLT Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back.
Take a few minutes to "chill ". When you build small rest times in your day, irritability goes away.
5. Not Meeting Deadlines
Another consequence of procrastination is not meeting deadlines. These can be work deadlines or simply paying bills on time.
Ephesians 5:16-17 NLT Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.
Ask yourself if there’s something I can take off of your calendar in order to make time for rest.
Lack of rest causes your mind to spiral into many questions and unknowns. Your worry changes from not getting your daily tasks done to real fears like you or your family getting sick. Anxiety is a sign that you need more space in your life. It becomes necessary to step back and spend some time on your personal physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.
Matthew 6:34 NLT “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
That includes getting adequate sleep, drinking enough water, moving in some way physically, and eating healthfully.
Our go-to in times of stress is often food. You use food to procrastinate, numb your anxiety and irritability, and deal with the dread you feel to move on to the next task. Overeating is a telling sign that you need rest. This rest is not only is not physical rest but spiritual rest as well.
Instead of going to food for rest, I need to go to the Bible - to Jesus - for the food that will give me a sustainable life.
John 6:35-40 NLT Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But you haven’t believed in me even though you have seen me. However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them. For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will. And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day. For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day.”
Sometimes your need for rest is because you took on too much. There are too many commitments and too many “yes’s.” Our culture prides itself on multitasking, succeeding, and accomplishing a lot in a little bit of time. In many ways, our self-worth is tied to the checks on our calendar.
Prioritizing is underestimated, but it shouldn’t be.
Proverbs 24:27 NLT Do your planning and prepare your fields before building your house.
Prioritizing allows us to do a few things well instead of several things with mediocrity. It allows us to decide the most important and temporarily lay down everything else without regret.
At some point, our bodies slow down from lack of rest. This is their way of telling us that something is not right. When you get sick ask yourself if it might be because you haven’t rested enough. Maybe you haven’t gotten enough sleep. Maybe you haven’t eaten healthy. Or maybe your anxiety contributed to your sickness. Some Christians end up in the hospital only to realize that it was God’s provision for them in order to give them physical rest. Paying attention to sickness allows us to discern whether it’s really rest that we need.
10. Inability to Pray
Finally, the inability to pray is a sign that you need to step back and take a break. Whether you don’t pray because of misplaced priorities and lack of time or because you can't calm your mind enough to pray, both are red flags. It’s also a sign that you need to exercise self-discipline and pray anyway. The best practice we can have is to pray even when we don’t feel like it.
Matthew 11:28-30 NLT Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
Take the long view and realize that sometimes slowing down will make you more effective. Structure your time so that you are not always rushed. Take frequent breaks. Give yourself permission to take a nap and to rest.