Take a Breather

The worst words to my 7-year-old ears: “It’s naptime!” Oh, how I would cringe and move dejectedly to the absurd halting of my fun. My little brother and I would put away our toys or books or costumes and climb up into the arms of oblivion. Dumb bed. When I grow up, I’m never going to take naps!

How the times have changed. Even as soon as high school, I was eager for an extra rest in the afternoon. I’m sorry I was so mean to you, sweet naptime. Can we be friends?

Today is National Napping Day, and it’s about time we believers made peace with the concept of a break. God considered rest so crucial that He made it part of the Big Ten. But it seems like the easiest commandment to justify breaking (at least for me; murder isn’t really on my list, but overwork is my jam). God, I can’t pause now! Look how much service I’m getting done for You! Don’t break the flow!

I’ve had to learn—if you take a nap, the world will not end. If you take an afternoon off, the stars won’t collide. And if you plan a weekend getaway, it might be the closest to Jesus you’ve been in a long time. You were never meant to keep the earth spinning by your activity: that job is already taken, and it’s being handled well. Why not just breathe? Take a few minutes to let the buzz and movement cease, to hear the heartbeat of God again. Go rest your eyes for a little while. Everything will still be here when you get back.

Riley and I are making plans for a month-long sabbatical this summer. And there’s nothing quite like an extended, intentional break to make you question your heart. What does this mean for me? Why am I feeling guilty for being away from ministry this long? Am I addicted to production? Do I feel like I must earn my place in the kingdom by working constantly? Is there any pride under this unease about stopping? Any unbelief? Can I obey even at the expense of possibly being an inconvenience to others? And on and on it goes.

Enter Jesus, the Truth and the Truth-teller: “Come away and rest. I hold all things together. I will protect My church. I will shepherd My flock. I have always been enough, and nothing you can do will make Me not enough. Let Me take care of everything. Drop your needs and fears and insecurities here with Me. Come away, love.”

And suddenly a month away sounds like heaven. And a nap is just one more way to worship well.

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