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The other day we took our grandkids to one of those kid-friendly places where they have games and all kinds of stuff for kids to do. Anyway, on the way there we took a picture of them and they were sitting in the back seat smiling and laughing, you could see the anticipation on their faces. Then we took an “after” picture, and they were totally zonked, asleep with the sleep of absolute exhaustion.
What a great contrast. What a great picture of life. When we pour ourselves into it, it can be totally exhausting. The Bible warns us not to “become weary in doing good…” (Gal 6:9 NIV). And I think most people I know work pretty hard. We go to work every day, we take care of our families, we wrangle the kids, clean the house, pay the bills and then collapse at the end of a long day. Then we get up and do it all over again the next day.
Some days we wake up in the morning and start the day feeling like those kids on the way home … utterly exhausted, and the day hasn’t even begun. All we want to do is hit the snooze button over and over again. But that won’t really help. We need to figure out how to restore our strength.
Did you know that Jesus would take a break every so often and go off by himself to pray and restore? Mark 6:45 records that after feeding the 5,000 Jesus sent the disciples away and then, “he went up on a mountainside to pray.” The Bible also tells us Jesus went to a wedding, that he participated in feasts, that he took time to restore himself. If he needed restoration and refreshment, why do we think we can do without?
How do you take a break? How do you restore your mind, your body, your soul?
First I’d suggest that we are all a little different, what works for me may not be your cup of tea. But there all some things that can help for all of us, first, turn to God for help. Remember, Jesus sought out his father in prayer and found restoration that way. We might want to start by seeking God’s grace, after all, he said, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matt 11:30 NIV).
And then, it may help to look for a change of pace. Take a break from your regular routine and do something different. Maybe you need to plan for a vacation, but there are other options. For example, turn off the TV/video games one night and play board games with the kids, put on your favorite music and dance like no one is watching, or have a pillow fight if you want, but be gentle. Invite a long-time friend over for some good conversation. Or this weekend, plan a big breakfast and make pancakes for the family and eat on paper plates so clean up is easy.
Take time to refresh. Do something new, or maybe allow yourself to play so hard, that you find the sleep of joy and exhaustion. May God bless you with his refreshment today.