It’s Time to Rest

I love my job. Working from home, writing thousands of words a day, learning a treasure trove of information, and being part of an uplifting team. At this job, I truly feel like I’m doing what God created me to do for this season. After each shift, I’m so excited and grateful that I have the opportunity to work in my dream career.

Except, why am I so tired?

I Experienced Burnout, Even in My Dream Job

Truthfully, my first month on the job was fun, but it was also information overload. As a result, I was tired. I could even say a felt a low grade of depression. For a couple of weeks I wondered, if this is my dream job and I’m depressed, did I follow the wrong dream?

Over time, I learned that I wasn’t in the wrong career. I was just burned out. Even though my job is exactly what I want to be doing, it was too much. I needed to make time to rest, especially since I hadn’t worked full-time in more than two years before this job.

We all need rest, even from good things. Just ask Elijah.

Elijah Was Burnt Out, Even in His Dream Job

Elijah was a powerhouse prayer warrior prophet for God. Everywhere he went, miracles followed. One of the most prominent miracles of God that he experienced was up against the prophets of Baal, a false god. You can read about it in 1 Kings 18. God shows up in a supernatural way, putting the doubt of all people to death. Oh, and He also brought rain down on the land after a long drought.

But shortly after all these miracles happened, Elijah wished he was dead. Wait, what? No, seriously. In 1 Kings 19:4, Elijah says what we’ve all said at one time or another: “I’ve had enough, Lord.” He asks God to take his life. You could say that it’s the one prayer God didn’t answer, but actually, He does.

Elijah Needed a Nap and a Snack

Right after this declaration, Elijah falls asleep. Sometimes, we just need a nap! But then when his nap is finished, an angel wakes him up and tells him to eat.

A literal angel made Elijah literal food. All of a sudden, there was bread and water in front of him. So, he did the wise thing. He ate. The food so strengthened Elijah that he traveled forty days and forty nights to the mountain of God.

During this dark time, Elijah learned the value of rest. He learned that, even when good things happen, these good things can’t sustain him. He’s human. Like all of us, he needed to rest after the emotional roller coaster he endured, even in the midst of the miracle.

The Importance of the Rest in Our Lives

Rest is so important to God that even He rested on the seventh day. He set an example that we all need to follow. The Sabbath reminds us that we’re human, that we can’t give our 110% all the time. We need to intentionally step back from our ministries, our jobs, our daily lives for just a moment to unwind and reflect.

Oh, and of course, to take a nap!

Most of my close friends know that I can’t stay out past ten o’clock at night. It’s a boundary I’ve set for myself, because I know that I can’t be (ahem) very Christlike past that hour. The truth is, I wake up early in the morning, so I’m tired by the end of the day. I’m human. I’ve recognized the importance of sleep for my sanity.

Key Takeaway

While most of us in the world are in isolation due to a virus that’s still not fully known to us. As a result, we have a ton of time on our hands. Of course, life goes on. We still have to work. But maybe, in our free time, we can make some time for rest.

Even though it seems like nothing is going on (you’re stuck in your house!), you’re going through a lot of mental and emotional stress right now. Recognize your need for rest, and make time to unwind.

This week, I challenge you to literally schedule time to rest. Here are some questions to get you thinking about how to rest properly:

  • What basic necessities (sleep, eating healthy food, working out, spending time with family, etc.) do I need right now? How can I fulfill what I need?
  • Think of your life as an empty cup. What activities and people fill the cup of your life?
  • What would spending a Sabbath with the Lord look like for you? What activities would you give up? What activities would you take part in?



Does the Word “Busy” Make You Sick, Too?

I’ve been so busy these past few years (yes, years), that the word “busy” makes me want to gag. “Oh, Elisabeth, I know you’re busy, but…” is how so many of my friends and family have approached a conversation with me lately. It wasn’t until recently that I learned that I have control over my schedule, and I can schedule periods of rest.

Like so many of you, I feel guilty when I take a break. My husband works forty hours a week, drives through an hour of traffic each way every day, and comes home with only a few hours to rest before bed. We are also both involved in ministries at church, we have family events, and we obviously want to spend time together. So, it seems natural to have a little bit of guilt to carve out a nap in the middle of the day while my husband can’t do that.

However, like all of us have unique triggers to our anxiety, we also have unique limits to our energy and unique requirements for rest. Studies say that young adults need 7-9 hours of sleep each night. You might only need 7 hours and 15 minutes, but I might need 8 hours and 45 minutes. (I haven’t quite figured out that magic number yet, but when I do, I will let you know).

God has been making it abundantly clear that I need to rest these days. I’ve been trying to develop a workout routine, start my own business, keep the house clean, maintain a blog, write a novel, and have somewhat of a social life. If you don’t work out regularly (like me), you might not know that it is important to take rest days so that your body’s muscles can recover from the intensity of lifting weights, running, or contorting into shapes that you didn’t think were possible. As a writer, I need mental and emotional rest days so I can recover from the emotional outpouring of my heart and mind into a story for all to read. When I’m editing, I also need to emotionally recover from the remorse I feel for the characters when a story ends. Practically, rest days are suggested, but biblically, rest days are required.

When you struggle with anxiety, it’s hard to know when to rest. Sometimes, even when you stop working, your mind still races a mile a minute. So, let’s talk about what it means to rest and when you should make time to rest.

God commands us to have a Sabbath rest, which is modeled after the fact that He rested on the seventh day of creation. The Sabbath shows a satisfaction in creation. God saw all that He created, and it was very good, so He rested. He didn’t have to do any more work. We should have that same mindset. If we are working 24/7 and are actually doing well at what we do, we should make time to rest, to celebrate what we’ve already done and to anticipate what we are going to do. The Sabbath was also established in the Old Testament to remind Israel that they are no longer slaves of Egypt. God had set them free, so the only master they needed to serve was Him. If you feel like a slave to your commitments, maybe you need to take time to rest.

God set up this time for us as a symbol of our need for rest. But what does it mean to rest? Like me, there are some people who cannot sit still without falling asleep. Some people have to go out for a run or draw or read a book. I believe that rest is making time for you to recharge, however you do that. Pastors Pete Scazzero and Rich Vallodas of New Life Fellowship in Queens have a video that helped me learn the idea of biblical Sabbath, and what you should do on the day that you designate to be your Sabbath.

Although we should physically rest from our jobs, our chores, and our workouts, true rest is not just a ceasing of activity; it is ultimately having inner peace. When we cease from the mundane projects that we do each day, we are reminded that our identity is not found in these things. God says that we are enough, just as we are, because of all the work that He has done for us. Do you believe that God is enough for you? Then take time to rest this week. You don’t have time? Make time. You can skip the meeting. You can call a babysitter. You can show up a few hours late to that party. Make time for you to recharge, reflect, and celebrate what God is doing in your life.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash


Make Time for You

A few months ago, I experienced what it’s like to have literally nothing left.

I was in a difficult season where every single minute of my life had been assigned to an activity.  Even when I was napping, I would read a book or I would scroll on my phone.  I desired a break, even a day off, but I didn’t know how to have one.

That day, I had come home from work with a migraine and severe muscle pain.  We were in the process of moving at work, and I had over-exerted my energy.  I felt like someone had beat me up.  I felt like I had literally been run over with a truck.  The last thing I wanted to do was drive home.  But once I got home, I put lavender in my oil diffuser, put on my pajamas, and sprawled out across my bed that was covered in fluffy pillows.

For the first time that I could remember, I did absolutely nothing for the rest of the night.  I didn’t really have much of a choice. But looking back, I desperately needed it.

Why do we exhaust ourselves?  I know for me, it’s the fear that I’m not getting enough done.  When God rested, it indicated that He was satisfied with His work.  When we rest, we trust that we have completed the work that God has called us to do.

God knows you have limits, and He does not expect you to go beyond your limits in your own strength.  When I go on a plane, which makes me anxious, it takes so much emotional energy out of me that even if I come home early in the day, I always take off the next day of work so that I can recharge and relax.  But sometimes God calls me to trust His strength in the busy seasons.  I need eight hours of sleep, maybe even nine at this point of my life.  If I have to do something that requires me to stay up all night or to get up earlier than is comfortable for me, that means I need God’s strength, and I might need to make some adjustments to my schedule later.

You may be at a very busy season of your life.  However, God calls us to rest, just as He rested, and He calls us to make time for ourselves.  If you don’t have time, make time.  That may mean calling out sick to work one day.  That may mean letting your husband watch the kids while you do what you want.  That may mean even going on vacation for a few days and leaving your cell phone in your hotel room while you relax on the beach.

Is your schedule really more important than your mental, physical, and emotional health?

Your kids would not appreciate it if you were taking care of them, but you were exhausted and therefore short-tempered.  Your work would not appreciate it if you worked overtime every day, but you didn’t get any work done because you were so drained.  It’s hard to admit, but we all have limits.  We all get spent.  And we all have different limits and tolerances.

You know you need a break when you start exhibiting any of the following symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Memory loss
  • Insomnia
  • Short-temper
  • Depression/loss of joy of life

If you have any of these, look back on your schedule for this week and see where you need to cut back.  Don’t be afraid to admit that you just need some down time.  Do what you love, and don’t feel guilty about it.  Whether it is writing, reading, getting a massage, even coloring, then do it for a few hours.  You would be amazed at what even taking a night off will do for you.  Then, when you are finished relaxing, you will have less stress and more enjoyment of your life.

Photo by Alexandru Zdrobău on Unsplash