Have you ever had days where you just cannot keep your eyes open? You’re filling up your third, fourth, even fifth cup of coffee, yet your yawning is out of control. Words are difficult to come by, and sentences aren’t being strung together properly. The bottom line is that you probably haven’t gotten adequate sleep or time to yourself in forever.
Work is essential, of course, but it’s the free time that slips away. Other engagements become hard to turn down: family time, outings with friends, birthday parties, holidays, you name it. At some point, however, you begin to malfunction. Your brain goes on the fritz, leaving you wiped out mentally, emotionally, and physically. You are officially living past your limit.
Overextending oneself is a frequent habit that happens to everyone. Life never slows down, so we think we don’t have time to. As I write this, I realize I’ve been doing way more than I have the capacity to do. I’ve shoved months worth of action into three measly weeks, not expecting a breakdown or a moment of pure exhaustion. Did I think I was Wonder Woman or something? Unfortunately, if you’re like me, it all catches up with you. When you crash, you crash hard. Your productivity is minimum, your brain isn’t fast enough, and little things distract you. It can be messy, for sure. But it can also be a learning experience.
I’ve come to find that when I take quality time for myself to do what I love—reading, writing, watching my favorite show, taking a nap—I’m more efficient in doing things others love. I can’t meet up with friends every night of the week to do what they want without taking a night for myself. It’d be a disservice to everyone involved. They wouldn’t get 100% of Becca. They’d maybe get 75% or even 40%. I’d go home, yawn a million times, and then force myself to stay awake to get in some “me” time. That leaves them upset because I’m not fully present and me grouchy because I’m tired and unfulfilled. If we all do what’s healthiest for ourselves, however, then, our relationships become stronger, too.
Instead of pushing until you burn out, plan more efficiently. Rather than pouring all your time into others and neglecting yourself, pencil in pockets of time to unwind and rejuvenate. We cannot live afraid of hurting others’ feelings at the cost of our sanity and health. It is pertinent that we are not afraid of man’s reactions, that we understand our true friends will never put us in a position of feeling guilty when we need a breather. They will encourage relaxation when they know we need it. God encourages your relaxation, too! Genesis 2:2 tells us that He rested on the seventh day after He created everything. He had done so much He wanted to sit back and admire all He’d accomplished. Sometimes, you need to sit back and just be proud of how far you’ve come.
Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV), God speaks:
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest in your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
He lets us pause, lay down everything we’ve been carrying, and take a deep breath. Furthermore, He invites us to slow down regularly. Psalm 46 tells us that He is our refuge and strength. We can be still and rest in Him, knowing He is God. That doesn’t mean we give up on our responsibilities or each other. It means we don’t have to get worked up over plans and worry about being in five places at once; we can just place the stress of it all at His feet, walk away from the chaos, and let ourselves be re-energized with the stillness of His presence. Once we have been restored to full capacity, then we can continue giving of ourselves and cease living past our limits.
I know it’s tempting, especially in America, to jam-pack your life, hoping to make every second count. Living like that can be so damaging. We need to slow down and learn to stop a moment in the midst of all the busyness. We have to learn how to love and take care of ourselves, or we will wake up one day and not even recognize the person in the mirror. We will have completely emptied ourselves with nothing to show for it. That being said, I challenge you to learn to live like Jesus; learn to be still even in the middle of life’s craziness.
Featured Image by Brandon Lopez