“Take a break”… This is a very common expression, which we say so very often to someone or to ourselves. Depending on the situation, it could mean a brief stop from an activity or a stop for an extended period of time. What exactly does it mean to “take a break” and what is it supposed to accomplish?
It could mean:
- Take a break and evaluate your performance and actions so far…
- Take a break and catch your breath…(you may be out of breath as in the case of a new or young runner or running when you are completely unfit)
A break is supposed to accomplish something or else it could become tardiness. Lets take a break or pause to Debrief. Reflect. Review. Revise or Renew … Life is a race alright but surely not a competition.
We live in a world of busyness. Some of us are so busy that pausing or taking a break is an anathema. I am not talking about vacation. Vacation is good (if you can afford one) and if it will accomplish the same outcome. Most times people go on vacation only to return more exhausted than they were even before they went on the vacation. In other words, you can go on a vacation without taking a break.
Sitting in church, the minister talked about rest in musical notes and cords. Being a total ignoramus in music, I was very intrigued and this caught my attention. I didn’t know that. He said a chord or note will often “rest” so a new chord can be introduced. The “rest” note indicates a time for change … maybe an introduction of a new key/tone or structure. In music, rest means a period of silence…yes, silence. It marks a complete break. “A musical rest is simply a pause in which you play nothing”. The most astonishing part of this discovery is that the rest is as important (equal values) as the notes themselves. How can that be?
“Come off by yourselves; let’s take a break and get a little rest” (Mark 6 vs. 31). Upon the return of the twelve apostles on their very first “solo mission”, they were very excited, a lot had happened, they were bursting with energy and zeal and they told their Master of their accomplishments and possibly how they would like to go off again…success was intoxicating. They may have been disappointed with Jesus’ reaction and response… He said, “ Lets take a break and get a little rest”. Why did Jesus say this? They were not tired (at least not front he account). It was tine to debrief, reflect and renew.
We find a pattern in the scripture…God rested on the seventh day. That is one form of rest. However, with each step of the creation, the Creator paused and evaluated what He had done and only when He had convinced Himself that “it is good” did He move to the next design and creation. I often wondered where we got our busyness and inability to pause, review and reflect. The description of creation tells me that when God looked at what He had created, if there is need to adjust, He did that.
In our lives, in our activities, it is important to take a break, debrief and reflect. Talking with my nine year old son a couple of days ago, I said “when you lay your head down each night to sleep, do not close your eyes until you have reflected on your actions and behaviors for that day and in doing that decide what to take on the next day and what to drop so that your tomorrow becomes better than your today or yesterday”. Do not be so busy that you live today exactly as you lived yesterday…on auto pilot mode
As in the musical note, we need to step out from time to time and review our lives, our actions and ask ourselves pertinent questions such as how are my actions affecting the people around me. These pauses, and breaks are as important as the goals we want to accomplish. What do I need to stop doing and what do I need to continue to do and what do I need to start doing…take a break, review, reflect, renew and recommit. Life is a race not a competition.