Workaholics are everywhere! Workplace exhaustion is a reality and physical fatigue that leads to an unhealthy life is nothing to ignore. These problems were even around in the first century when Jesus was walking the earth spreading the Good News. Fatigue took place with the disciples on several occasions. It was not uncommon for Jesus to say to his disciples, “Come off by yourselves; let’s take a break and get a little rest.” (The Message Mark 6:31)
If taking a break is needful and it is something that Jesus recommend why do some people find it so hard to do? What leads people to push to the brink of total exhaustion? Before one can understand how to take proper rest it would first help to understand what causes fatigue. If one of the items listed below is something you deal with you need to take a break.
- Feelings of no control over your work.
- No recognition of good work.
- Lack of reward for hard work.
- Unclear job expectations.
- An overly demanding job.
- Work that is monotonous.
- Work that is not challenging.
- Working in a chaotic atmosphere.
- Dealing with ongoing, high-pressure tasks.
- No time for relaxing.
- No time for socialization.
- Expected to do too much.
- Expected to please too many people.
- Taking on too many responsibilities.
- Having little help from others.
- Not getting enough sleep.
- Lack of supportive relationships.
- Being a perfectionist.
- Being a pessimist.
- Being a control freak.
- Being a Type A personality.
Three Fundamentals of Getting True Rest: Taught by Jesus Christ
The actions of Christ teach us as much as his words. In the Gospel of Mark Jesus teaches a lesson on dealing with fatigue by his words and deeds. He encouraged the disciples, who were exhausted to practice three fundamental actions.
1. Be Alone
The reason that many people never find the comfort of real rest is because they never allow themselves to be alone. For some this is a very uncomfortable zone, however, this is where great physical, mental and spiritual recovery can take place. To leave the crowd and get off by yourself is needed by everyone.
2. Move to a Quiet Place
Moving to a quiet place is an extreme challenge for many people even those who say they enjoy silence. During one Sunday morning service I was speaking on the subject of prayer and I suggested that we be silent and let the Lord do the talking. I asked the congregation to join me in five minutes of absolute silence. I even timed it with my watch. I must confess that I am not sure I have ever seen a Sunday morning worship crowd that uncomfortable before or since. Jesus told his disciples that there was a need for them to move away to a quiet place, a place of silence, a place where the mind could rest without noise invading.
3. Take a Break
Americans have all types of addictions. There is the addiction to alcohol, the addiction to pornography, the addiction to drugs just to name a few. However, there are not many people who are willing to admit that they are addicted to work. In fact, a large segment of the American culture has come to believe that there is no such thing as “over-working.” Working to the point of extreme exhaustion is for some a sign of good character. Hard work does pay off but an addiction to work is just as bad as being addicted to a drug. Jesus led his disciple to work hard and work faithfully yet he also noticed when a break was needed. If the Creator who put this universe together in six days took a day off, who in the world do we think we are in not taking time off?
These are easy principles to remember but a challenge to follow: Be Alone, Move to a Quiet Place, TAKE A BREAK!