1. The Indispensability Myth.
“They just can’t get along without me.” We become possessed by the belief that it won’t get done – or done right – if we don’t do it. If what we do at our houses leaves no regular time to regroup, it probably doesn’t all need to be done. In fact, some family members might do some important growing if we left some of it for them to do. If our work has taken control of our life, it may be because we think we are more important than we actually are. If rest and recovery are ever going to be a quiet center, we first have to step back and see ourselves realistically. It’s better for jobs to be undone than for us to be undone.
2. The “You-Are-What-You-Do” Myth.
It begins at a very tender age. Someone asks a little boy, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We don’t look for an answer like, “I want to be sensitive and helpful and friendly.” He is supposed to say, “I want to he a doctor … a lawyer . . . a farmer.” We have misled him already. He thinks that what you do is who you are. When those little people grow up, they tend to make their work their highest priority. After all, if I am not my occupation, then who am I? The you-are-what-you-do runner will reach the end of the race alone and unfulfilled. He never had time just to be. Without any time for rest and recovery, he has lost large chunks of his humanness.
3. The Dedication Myth.
This myth equates nights out with commitment. A committed Christ-follower steps up to serve in the Lord’s work; he or she is commended for fifteen nights in a row at the church and his or her overloaded schedule. If the spiritual leaders really understood dedication, they’d send this person back home a few of those nights.
People must learn to rest, not just to serve. If they can learn balance, they will be serving for many years. If they don’t take regular time-outs, they will play a glorious first quarter, collapse, and hate the game for the rest of their lives. It seems that if the devil can’t make us under-commit, he’ll make us over-commit.
God’s own people, the Jews, crashed in ancient time because they refused to rest. The Sabbath principle they ignored covered not only the landowner, but his land as well: For six years you are to sow your field and harvest the crops, but during the seventh year let the land be unplowed and unused (Exodus 23:10-11). Like many of us, those Old Testament Jews just couldn’t slow down. God looked ahead to a time when they would not protect that quiet center of rest and recovery: For 490 years, the Jews did not rest the land, for a total of seventy Sabbath years. The Babylonian Empire carried them into captivity and left the land resting for seventy years.
We are built for regular Sabbaths – times of rest and recovery. If we continue to violate our limits, God will give His Sabbath whether that rest comes through an accident, an injury, an illness, or a closed door. He would much rather we choose to rest as a deliberate choice.
Excerpted from “Living Peacefully in a Stressful World” by Ron Hutchcraft