I feel guilty when I’m resting. Because of certain circumstances, I have a false belief that I have to be busy every single second of every single day. If I’m not, I feel guilty. If I say no to helping a friend or being part of a project because I need rest, I feel guilty. This is because I have been faced with this question in the past:
“What else are you doing?”
This question has been a source of shame in the past. To this day, when someone asks me, “What is keeping you busy,” or “What are you doing with your time,” I get defensive.
One look at my calendar on my phone says it all. I’m busy, and I don’t even list everything on my calendar.
This is the way it is for a lot of people. In my experience, most people don’t have a problem keeping busy. They have a problem resting. Their weeks are so busy that when it comes time to rest, they are burnt out. The only thing they feel they have the energy to do is pop up Netflix and watch their favorite TV show. I think its important to know one thing: sometimes this is okay.
The keyword here is sometimes. If this becomes a norm, then it should present itself as a red flag. Something has to change. We should rarely be so busy that we feel crushed by our schedules, yet most of us do. So, what can we do to change this?
In Genesis, we are told that God made the world in 6 days and rested on the 7th. One of the 10 Commandments is to keep the Sabbath day Holy. One of the commandments is to rest. Jesus explains the reasoning: the Sabbath was created for man. We need rest. God knows this. So why do I feel shame over rest? Do you feel shame over rest?
We don’t have to feel shame. God knows we need rest.
If we find that our restful times aren’t restful than we have a problem. In the book “Leading on Empty”, Wayne Cordeiro writes about his experience about burning out. His doctor told him that his serotonin levels had completely depleted. His body was beginning to work on adrenaline to make up for the depleted levels of serotonin. Adrenaline is the “fight or flight” chemical, it is the “survival mode” chemical that flows through our brain when we are faced with a dangerous situation. Serotonin is the neuro-transmitter that brings the feeling of well-being and happiness. Adrenaline is meant for only short bursts, so when we work solely on adrenaline eventually we burn out.
This confirms what God knew (He did create us after all). We need rest. We need to find ways to manage our days better. It is okay to say no sometimes. When someone asks, “What else do you have going on?” It is okay to sometimes say, “It’s been a crazy week, and I need some time to rest.”