On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work. Genesis 2:2 NLT
When teaching, taking a break takes on new meaning.
A long summer break energizes teachers. We think of new things to do with our students . . . perhaps even different methods of teaching that will better engage them. We may take educational courses to gain continuing education units. But the best thing about summer is that we get to take a break from the hectic pace teaching often puts on us.
When the new school year approaches, we think we’re ready, but it doesn’t take long before we’re tired again and longing for Thanksgiving and Christmas break. Making lesson plans and grading papers taxes our minds, and answering an endless list of questions from students tests the nerves. Two days for Thanksgiving and two weeks for Christmas rejuvenates us, but soon after we return, we long for spring break. And when that’s over, we’re panting for summer break again.
I imagine most teachers love their jobs—otherwise, why would we teach—but we long for breaks. Even schools that operate year-round have built-in breaks, equal to those districts that don’t hold year-round school. Teachers can’t teach effectively without breaks, and students can’t learn efficiently without breaks either. Our minds need rest.
Even God needed rest . . . well, not really, but the writer uses anthropomorphic terms to tell us God stopped working after a period of time. After six days of creating—in whatever way or time that happened—God rested. He took a Sabbath. A break.
By Jesus’ time, religious leaders had turned the Sabbath into a day where they expected legalistic observance from worshippers. Jesus reminded them humans weren’t made for the Sabbath, but the Sabbath for us. In other words, we need breaks.
Working all the time—whether at our jobs or at tasks or hobbies around the home—messes with our bodies. God didn’t create our bodies to go nonstop. One day a week to stop and focus on our Creator is essential, but we need more breaks than that along the way. We need enough sleep and rest. Otherwise, our bodies break down, we stress out, and we—along with everyone else we contact—suffer physically, emotionally, spiritually, and relationally. Lack of rest makes us irritable, changes our attitude, makes us short-tempered, clouds our thinking, and complicates our relationships.
If we’re not getting enough rest, we need to check our schedules, make some hard choices, and rethink our priorities. Then make up our minds to take a break.
What are some things you need to rethink so you can take more breaks?
Prayer: Father, help us rearrange our schedules so they include times of worship and periods of rest.
Tweetable: Is taking a break on your schedule?
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