sooner or later we all fall to pieces
a few weeks ago, while scrolling through twitter, there was one tweet that caught my attention more than any other. it was actually a retweet of some celebrity christian. i’m not sure which one it was. they’re all the same really. random jesus thoughts and leadership quotes. there’s a reason there’s a billion fake accounts saying the same thing over and over each day. and there’s a reason half of the people i follow retweet them over and over each day. that’s not the point of this post though.
that retweet on that day from that celebrity christian said something along the lines of, “taking a day off is written right next to don’t kill anybody.”
for some reason, that quote stuck with me. it could’ve been because i was in the middle of a marathon month and a half at work. it could’ve been because i can become a workaholic at times. it could’ve been because jesus was telling me something. regardless of why, it stuck.
all throughout college, when the spring semester ended, i would always go home and spend the next couple of weeks with my high school baseball coaches finishing out the season and going through the playoffs. one of the coaches happened to be my little league coach when i was ten. sometime around my sophomore year of college while on one of the long bus rides in the playoffs, i remember that coach saying to me, “jonathan, you could’ve been a good player if you weren’t as lazy as you were.” he didn’t mean it to be as harsh as it sounded, but the point remained: growing up, i was lazy. there’s a reason i’m 330 pounds at the age of 26. that didn’t happen through rigorous exercise as a teenager.
that statement on that bus ride has stuck with me. i knew i had been lazy as a kid but having someone outside of my family that i respected throw it out there in passing like it was common knowledge to everyone around made me finally realize that not only did i know i was lazy but so did everyone else in my life.
from that point on, i felt like i had to prove something. i had to prove that i wasn’t lazy.
at the time, i was working in the world of college athletics. it was understood that you worked as long as it took to get things done and then did even more. i worked my way from an unpaid practicum student to an intern to a paid student assistant. i went from being a paid student assistant to on scholarship with our football team. from there, i worked up to being a graduate assistant with the athletic department. when i left, it took nine months to find someone to replace me.
i worked hard.
i was good at what i did.
no one could claim that i was lazy.
i don’t think taking pride in your job is a bad thing. i don’t think it’s wrong to work hard to perform the best that you can. it’s not a bad thing to strive for excellence.
it’s not good when those desires take over your life.
there’s always going to be times when work becomes incredibly busy. you’re short staffed. you’re launching a new product. it’s july 4th and you’re the guy that tells people to wait and then go on a water slide. things are going to get busy. that’s work. that’s life. the key is realizing that it’s just as important to take a day off as it is to not kill somebody. that sounds crazy and like a big giant hyperbole, but it’s the truth.
god didn’t tell us to set a day aside because he wanted the rest of our week to be extra stressful. he didn’t sit in heaven and think, “you know, i’m going to screw with those people. i’m going to make them rest for a day and then completely freak out the other six.” he did it for our benefit.
when work takes over our lives, our friendships get strained.
when work takes over our lives, our marriages get splintered.
when work takes over our lives, our relationship with jesus gets put on the back burner.
it’s funny (in a sick, sad kind of way): i work in full time ministry. my entire job is to create environments where people can meet jesus and hear from him. when i let my job take over my life, i stop meeting with jesus. i stop taking time to hear from him.
i spend 40, 50, 60 hours a week helping others hang out with jesus at the expense of taking time to do it myself.
do you know why taking a day off is just as important as not killing someone?
when you don’t take time off, you kill your own soul.
protect yourself. set time aside. take a nap. catch up on that tv show. go for a run.
take your work e-mail off of your phone. go to the park with your kids. take your spouse on a date.
do whatever it takes to clear your head from the stress and busyness of work. by doing these things, you’re decluttering your mind so that you can start to hear from god again. you’re making time to actually read your bible (you know, that book that’s sat next to your bed the last three weeks as you’ve been working nonstop).
one day a week. that’s all it takes. work your butt off for six days if you have to, but give yourself that seventh day. give god that seventh day. it’s amazing how significant of a change you will see when you make the effort to set aside time for god to speak into your life.
without the competing voices, you might actually hear from him.
say your prayers and take your vitamins.
have a nice day.
I found your writing refreshing and true. Do you want to teach GNED? Blessings my friend.
This resonates with me, Jonathan. Just yesterday, I was talking with a colleague about similar feelings, and she used the phrase “compassion fatigue.” Sometimes, even when we’re in the midst of doing good things, serving (or perhaps *because* it’s good things we’re doing) we just plain run out of steam. As a believer, that can feel like some kind of shortcoming on our part. But the reality is that we’re all just humans.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts.