Friday, December 9, 2022

Take a Break Before a Break Takes You

 



By: Sarah Geringer


It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones.
Psalm 127:2 NLT

I learned a hard lesson recently: take a break before a break takes you. That's why I didn't have a post written last Friday, and I apologize for that today.

I've been pushing myself hard - too hard - lately. I typically write these blog posts on Thursdays, and last week, I double booked two meetings that day. They were blessed meetings of ministering to two dear people. However, since I have been pushing myself way too hard for way too long, I crashed.

Last Thursday, I took a break after dinner, which I barely had the energy to cook (and it was only tacos). I said to my daughter, "I'm just going upstairs to read for a while." But as soon as I laid down on my left side, I fell asleep at 7:30 p.m., and didn't fully wake back up until 5:30 a.m. on Friday. 

That's the longest I've slept in a very long time. I should have taken a break before the break took me that night, but I had more lessons to learn.

On Monday of this week, I contracted the flu. It descended on me like a sudden storm, heavy and hard. I couldn't work at normal capacity or fulfill any of my regular obligations. 

Laying in my bed on Monday night, I cried tears of utter exhaustion. I felt feverish and miserable, and I had no more to give from a depleted emotional tank.

At that low moment, I recalled words from a favorite pastor of mine. I remember how Dr. Charles Stanley, a fellow high achiever, described how he once ended up in the hospital after ignoring God's repeated nudges to slow down and take a break. That's when I learned to see the hidden blessing in my sickness this week.

You need to take a break before a break takes you, and here's why.
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This year, the huge responsibility of becoming a single parent broadsided me. According to two counselors, I've always carried far more than my fair share of the emotional load in an abusive, alcoholic marriage. Though I was accustomed to carrying a too-heavy load, I didn't know how it would feel to carry it completely on my own - that is, until it nearly broke me.

What I've learned this week is that I MUST stop trying to do everything myself and hand my load over to God, because I don't want it to break me. The flu is one thing, and it's a doozy. But ending up in the hospital - regular or mental - is quite another. That's where I'm headed unless I heed this wakeup call, delivered through the flu virus, to take a real, actual, necessary, and healthy break from the heavy load of all I've been doing in my own strength.

This week, I'm reassessing my loads. I can't lay them all down as a single parent, but I can depend on God more fully and delegate more to my teens. I can say yes to more pouring in and no to most pouring out, so I can start refilling my cup and plugging the holes. I can deliberately choose to enjoy this beautiful Christmas season with all of its lights, songs, scents, and gifts. 

If I don't slow down, a break will surely take me down. But if I take a daily break beside the Christmas tree with a cup of hot cocoa and my favorite blanket covering my lap, connecting with God through a beautiful Advent devotional, I have a good chance of avoiding disaster for my mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health.

I firmly believe God gives rest to his loved ones, but we have to choose that rest. He is offering you and me this gift right in the middle of the busy Christmas season. Will you accept it? I'm learning to lay everything down, reach out my hands, and joyfully take the gift God is offering me - the gift of rest after I surrender my loads over to him. I know you want to avoid breaking down just as I do. Will you heed the gentle warning in Psalm 127:2 like I am doing this week?

I pray that if you are resisting taking a break, this devotion spoke to you. If you want me to pray for you, reach out to me HERE.

 
Blessings and God's peace to you,
Sarah Geringer 
Photo from Canva.com


 
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Reflection questions:

1. When have you resisted God's nudge to slow down, and what did it cost you?
2. In which area does God want you to fully surrender to him?
 
Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

18 comments:

  1. This is such a great and relevant post. I myself am also working on not trying to do everything myself, rely on God, and take necessary breaks. Praying for you, sweet sister! God is faithful.

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    1. Thank you for praying, and Merry Christmas to you!

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  2. Sarah, this is wise for us all, no matter our situations. We all need to heed the nudge to rest, and I am grateful you nudged me. Praying this morning for the Lord to bring you healing from the flu, and to give you strength in ALL that you do!

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  3. Thanks for this powerful reminder, dear friend! Praying for your quick recovery! May God refresh you and give you new strength and enthusiasm! Christmas blessings to you!

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  4. Oh, Sarah. God bless you! I can commiserate with you and absolutely empathize with you. I have been there, my friend. Continuing to pray for God's provision, grace, and double reward for you!

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    1. Thank you for praying, and I appreciate your posts so much!

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  5. Love this. Have lived this.

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  6. Sarah, thank you for your reminder to rest. My season is busy but I am making the choice to rest.

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    1. Looking forward to our talk soon. Merry Christmas, friend!

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  7. Yes, take a break. Everyone is so sick with colds/flu right now. I got sick right after Thanksgiving and still haven't recovered. I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel though.

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    1. Hope you are seeing the light now, Amy. Christmas blessings to you!

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  8. Thanks Sarah for the reminder. I think of many women here in my part of the world and how it is so hard to find that much needed rest in the midst of life's many challenges. But truly, we need to take a break before we break down completely. Thanks for this great encouragement.

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  9. Rest well, lovely lady. His burden is light. This has been a long hard season for you. His arms are open ...

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    1. I always enjoy my visits to your site, Linda. God is faithful to me, even in this hard, hard year. Blessings to you this Christmas!

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