A Time to Work and a Time to Rest

Perseverance is defined by Vocabulary.com as “not giving up. It is persistence and tenacity, the effort required to do something and keep doing it till the end, even if it is hard.” It reminds me of the poem Mr. Foley made me memorize in the 8th grade called “Don’t You Quit.” Perseverance is an admirable trait, a key purpose in our experiencing trials. I have incorporated this trait so strongly into my life, however, that recently I realized I often “push through” to the point of exhaustion. I have seen it in myself and many friends and family recently.
We act as if pausing to rest equates with giving up completely, so we continue on until we reach our breaking point. It shows up in a breakdown of our relationships (impatience with family), our bodies (chest pain, illness, or even critical conditions such as a stroke), and our souls (robbed of joy, overwhelmed, feeling like giving up). I have seen so many strong people around me hitting that wall of exhaustion, and losing the sense of peace and purpose that make life worthwhile. 
Rest is not quitting. It is quite the opposite. It acknowledges my limits, replenishes me, and sends me along refreshed with the strength I need for another day. We know that there is something holy about rest. God rested after creating the world not because He was tired, but because He knew we would be. He intended for us to persevere through the challenges that life would bring, but then stop to recharge on a regular basis. 
Setting aside one day for rest each week is a great way to give our lives balance, but we also need to tune into ourselves and listen. Are we snapping back at our loved ones? Are we feeling frequent stress headaches or grinding our teeth at night? Are we telling ourselves that we just can’t keep up this pace any longer, wanting to quit altogether? Taking a step back, we may see that continuing to push ourselves as we have been could have dire consequences. We can take small steps that will have a big impact. If we shift our thoughts to recognize that we are simply tired, we might allow ourselves a little rest… perhaps a nap, or the indulgence of time reading a book; maybe a phone call with an old friend.
If we take a break, we will likely regain some perspective. Being still, we might remember who God is (surprise… it’s not us!) We can pray that God will restore us and let His joy be our strength. He can energize us to bring His light to our piece of the world and speak life to those we love. Lord, please open my eyes to see when I need to stop and rest, so you can fill me up again.

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