Advent, Burnout and Rest

A lot of us in the Church have this idea that we have to be constantly engaged in something to be OK in God’s eyes. Now there’s nothing wrong with working to get things done – in fact it’s what keeps a lot of us from living out on the streets – but sometimes it’s hard to know the balance. Are we doing enough? Should we be doing less? Will we run the risk of appearing lazy if we need to take a break?

As I write this, it’s Advent. For my family, this means a lot of rushing-around, preparing things not just for the church but for ourselves and family members as well. On top of that, I’ve had some really challenging schoolwork to gnaw my way through, sometimes even giving up sleep just to get it done. It’s in these times that I start to remember Jesus’ words in Matthew 11: ‘Come to me, all of you who are tired and have heavy loads, and I will give you rest.’ There does come a point where the needle gets pushed into the red, and we have to hang back and make sure we don’t lose our minds through being burned out. The harder we work during the day, the more rest we should afford ourselves later.

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