It’s really easy to cut yourself too much slack. You laud praises on yourself for a good week’s worth of work and award yourself a day off. That day off turns into two, and the snowball continues. Rest is not a reward, it’s a necessary part of work. Rest is rejuvenating, it restores creative capacity, and it promotes health. Too much rest is sloth, laziness, and leads to a sedentary lifestyle. In order to rest, there must be work.
Having a rest day once a week isn’t just a good idea, it’s recommended. God rested on the seventh day and we even have an entire commandment dedicated to the principle of rest. The problem with taking too many breaks is that your work log backs up, leaving things undone. When all of that work is scheduled properly, it’s manageable. However, having neglected it for too long with copious breaks, we feel overwhelmed. The house is a disaster and, while you want it to be clean, you feel it’s too daunting to take on, so you “rest.”
You can only have a restful Sunday by having everything in its place. The chores are done, all other tasks are scheduled and planned, and you have the clarity of mind to do whatever you wish. Family time, a nap, a movie, running around outside are all within the realm of possibilities. The best part is that while you enjoy these great pursuits, your mind won’t be preoccupied with all of the things you’ve left undone because you’re armed with the knowledge that you put in the time and all is settled.
Excessive breaks are nothing more than procrastination, and there’s always a reason why. It may be a lack of clarity, an overly aggressive schedule, or just plain reluctance. We all have things that hold us back and identifying the pain point is the first step to resolution. When you’re tempted to neglect your work, figure out what’s motivating you and make corrections. If you’re afraid to make a call, push through. If you’re lacking clarity, seek it out. If you’ve over scheduled, give yourself permission to move some things around within a reasonable period of time.
Rest isn’t earned, it’s a gift freely given. Yet, it’s a gift that we can only be ready to receive if we’ve put in the work. Have a plan, work the plan, and enjoy the fruits of true rest.