When You Need a Break
Restore. Renew. Revive.
I have recently become obsessed, along with millions of others, with the TV show “Fixer Upper.” Their tagline goes something like, “the neighborhood that everyone wants, but no one can afford…we find the worst house in the nicest neighborhood and make it yours!” It is honestly a fantastic show about a husband and wife, Chip and Joanna Gaines, that fix up houses in Waco, Texas. It probably sounds like every other show on HGTV, but the Gaines’ have something different.
They have grown into a family that thousands, if not millions, love and admire and they have done it based off of dreams, hard work and years of building their empire. They not only fix up about a dozen homes a year, they work with charities, have a store, a bakery, a magazine, a reality company, a large farm and four children! They seem unstoppable and quite frankly, inhuman!
In the past year, the Gaines’ have decided that their show “Fixer Upper” should come to a close and they would like to step out of the spotlight and be able to focus their time and energy on their family and farm. When this announcement first came out, as you can imagine, people had lots to say about it. Whilst I am sure not one person commenting actually know the Gaines’, people felt the need to give their opinions about why they should keep the show going or start another show. When the dust settled, Chip and Joanna simply said, “we really want to focus on this break and take a step back to let this all soak in…regardless of what the future holds, we are hopeful for what God has for us and our family in this next season.”
Taking a step back. I cannot imagine how difficult it was for the Gaines’ to decide to take a step back from their wildly popular TV show, but they listened to the Lord and decided it was best for them. How many of us feel the exact same way I wonder? Constantly going, constantly striving for what is next, doing our best, not looking back, go go go go go…
You have to be the perfect friend, employee, mother, father, Christian and you obviously have to be involved in absolutely everything there is including every sport, brunch, party, ministry - the list never ends.
There are seasons of our life that are so busy that we look at the calendar and say to ourselves, “what happened to this week, this month, this year or the past five years?”
In our culture today we want it all, which in itself isn’t a terrible thing. That is how we accomplish our dreams, like the Gaines’. Without striving for more they wouldn’t be so successful, but there should also be seasons of our lives where we take a step back, soak in everything that is around us and listen to the Lord.
“He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” (Psalm 23:2 King James Version)
We are so obsessed with going, that we eventually realize we are burning the candle at both ends and there is nothing left to give. We are spiritually bankrupt and all our giving has turned into us not having. And we hear, “but we aren’t supposed to worry about ourselves, we need to take care of other people, that is selfish to take a break.”
Except the thing is, giving until you have nothing left is flat out sinful. How are we supposed to lead other people to Christ, encourage, motivate, be genuinely joyful and be there for our kids, family or friends if we are empty? Why are there so many verses in the bible about the Lord filling up our spirit if there isn’t supposed to be a time and place for us to step back and soak it all in?
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary, and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Ephesians 40:31 KJV)
“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a rights spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10 KJV)
Time and time again we see people crying out to the Lord to restore them because they are empty. In today’s society especially, I think we need to learn to step back and take care of ourselves more than ever. We have to always be going somewhere, or connected to something, volunteering, saying yes…even typing it is exhausting me.
This year, I have decided that I need to focus more on me and learn the word ‘No.’ Do you know what happens when you say no? People get very uncomfortable.
“No, I am not coming to your party Saturday night, because I am eating dinner with my family.” “No, I am not going to continue to be the leader of this ministry, because I need to take a break.” “No, I am going to sit and read or cook or write or do absolutely nothing.”
And do you want to know why people don’t use the word no…guilt. If I am doing nothing, I feel guilty. You work and work and come home and feel like you didn’t do enough, you cram more into your day, more into your hour, more into every minute and then you realize, you’ve spent more time filling your life than actually living it. FYI….even God took breaks! Check out Genesis 2:2-3. If the creator of everything took a day off, surely you can too!
So, my friend, you don’t have to do it all. It is as simple and as difficult as that. I encourage you to learn the word ‘no’ and take a step back from being overworked and underfed. You deserve it. We will all have many seasons in our lives, but make sure that one of yours is taking in all the beauty God has made for you.
Hines, Ree. “Chip and Joanna Gaines are opening up about why they are ending ‘Fixer Upper’.” Today, NBC Universal, Oct.11.2017, https://www.today.com/home/chip-joanna-gaines-why-they-re-ending-fixer-upper-t117343.