The Commandment with the most written about it is the one commanding rest.
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.
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, no matter the reason, thank God He has put a mechanism in place that signals us that it just may be time to slow down and obey.
I believe that mechanism is burnout which can come in a variety of ways.
- 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!
Anxiety and exhaustion, which accompany burnout, may be signs that God is telling you it's time to take a break.
1.Dreading the Day
A pattern of dreading the day may be 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. I wish someone could take my place or I could just check-out.
Where does that dread come from? The definition of dread is “to fear greatly” or “to feel extreme reluctance to meet or face.” However fear can be the catalyst for dread when you remember;
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong (emphasis mine)..
Dread often leads to procrastination. Procrastination causes paralysis because the longer you wait to start, the more thing build up causing feelings of dread to continue. It’s a cycle that’s hard to break.
Ecclesiastes 11:4 NIV Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.
Discipline helps you break the cycle of procrastination. When you discipline your days by structuring them not only with times of work but also with times of rest, You won't fear the day as much. Rest includes daily quiet for daily prayer and Bible reading.
3. Inability to Focus
A mind racing with to-do lists blocks your ability to focus. This is a sign that it’s time to take a break.
Proverbs 16:3 NIV Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.
If you're honest, we don't commit our work to the Lord often enough. To help with that you may want to pray over every part of your day. This will help you to recognize what needs to get done versus what ypu you want to get done. It also helps you to anticipate inevitable interruptions so that I don't become agitated as easily.
Another sign that you need to step back and take a break is irritability. When you catch yourself being irritable stop.
Proverbs 29:11 NIV Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end.
It may take just 15 minutes of alone time.
5. Not Meeting Deadlines
A consequence of procrastination is not meeting deadlines. These can be work deadlines or simply paying bills on time.
Ephesians 5:15-16 NIV Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
Try to schedule small steps into your day small steps that will help you meet a bigger deadline goal. Schedule some time to rest by eliminating some things from your calendar.
Lack of rest can cause your mind to spiral into many questions and unknowns. Worry morphs from not getting your daily tasks done to real fears like getting sick. Anxiety is a sign that you need to step back and spend some time on your personal health. That includes getting adequate sleep, drinking enough water, eating healthy and exercising.
Matthew 6:34 NIV Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Many people use food to procrastinate, numb their anxiety and irritability, and deal with the fear of facing the day. Overeating may be a sign that you need rest. This rest does not usually include physical rest but spiritual rest.
John 6:35 NIV Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
Instead of going to food for rest, go to the Bible - to Jesus - for the food that will sustain life.
Sometimes you need for rest 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 NIV Put your outdoor work in order and get your fields ready; after that, build your house.
Prioritizing allows you to do a few things well instead of several things with mediocrity. It allows you to decide the most important and temporarily lay down everything else without regret.
Jesus taught his disciples the priority of time alone with him.
Mark 6:30-31 NIV The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
At some point, your bodies slow down from lack of rest. This is their way of telling us that something is not right. When you get sick I 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. Maybe your sickness is God’s way of causing you to get some physical rest. Paying attention to sickness allows us to discern whether it’s 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. They are both red flags. It’s also a sign that you need to exercise self-discipline and pray anyway.
Matthew 11:28 NIV “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
The best practice we can have is to pray even when we don’t feel like it.