Take a nap and eat cake. It’s biblical.
This is the advice of my dear friend, Claudia Mitchell. She is a fellow author, counselor, and amazing woman of God. A few years ago I sat in a session where she taught on 1 Kings 19. The prophet Elijah was exhausted after a several days of intense service for God and, a threat on his life from Queen Jezebel. Elijah high-tailed it to the desert to escape. While hiding in the desert, God sent an angel to refresh Elijah with a “cake of bread” and “a jar of water.” After a nap the angel told him to eat more (I love this angel!), before he sent him on his way to meet with God. In that meeting God gave him a lengthy to-do list. Elijah needed the refreshment in order to do what God had for him next and God knew it.
Claudia taught the importance of taking a break and refreshing ourselves. There is always a next thing waiting for us with—
- Our families
I think as women we don’t often allow ourselves to be refreshed when God sends the opportunity. Last week I was offered the opportunity to go with Claudia on an overnight retreat with a few women from her church. Then since I will be in the same city where Katie is in grad school, I’ll spend the week with Katie and we’ll come home together on Friday.
When the opportunity was presented to me by God, I was excited but a bit hesitant. It seemed too good, too fun—a retreat with Claudia and the remainder of the week with Katie. What about Gene? He would be at home working away. What about my responsibilities? God assured me I needed this trip and I can keep up with school and writing on my laptop. Gene assured me he is a big guy and can take care of himself. (What a man!)
I know. If you’re the mom of small children, you may be thinking “Must be nice.” I know you’re not in the place to have a week away. But when the opportunity comes for a short break do you take it? Do you do something that refreshes you or do you fold laundry?
Could you and a trusted friend trade babysitting for an afternoon or evening? This isn’t a new idea, but it’s a good one. My youngest daughter used to babysit one day a week after school for a young mom. This gave the mom an hour or two to herself—in her room—before the evening routine started. It cost only a few dollars and she was refreshed.
Our busy, stress-filled lives require the best of us. Our efforts to do life well drain our physical resources which in turn drain our mental strength and self-control.* We need times of refreshment so we will be ready for who-knows-what is coming into our lives next.
More times than not I haven’t the opportunities for refreshment God has offered me. I hate that. It was a gift from God and I refused it. God knew what I needed but I chose to be the martyr and plow through. I don’t have a clue what’s next for me, but I’m trusting God that now is the time for a break.
When you crash who will take care of you? Of your family? Be on the lookout for opportunities for refreshment from God and take them! Like Elijah we don’t know what’s ahead, but God does. He knows we need a break.
How do you take a break? What refreshes and refuels you?
*Myers, David G. Psychology Ninth Edition, New York City: Worth Publishers, 2010. Print. Page 579.
Brenda Garrison is an author and speaker who empowers women with the confidence to live their calling. Brenda is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ministry Leadership with a Concentration in Women’s Ministry at Moody Bible Institute. She and her husband, Gene, are the parents of three young adult daughters and live near Metamora, IL.