A few weeks ago, I happen to be part of a conversation with a leader in my church. He said something that upset me greatly and I haven’t really understood why until this moment. It may seem so ridiculous to you but bare with me.
One of the girls in the conversation stated that she was tired, which got everyone talking about how they are feeling exhausted, possibly close to burn out. The guy then responded “It’s good to burn out in your 20s. You learn your limits”. I wish I spoke up and disagreed immediately but I was so unsure as to why this statement made me uncomfortable.
I realise now that this statement upset me for two reasons.
Firstly, being so busy that you don’t have a moment to breathe is not healthy for you mentally, physically or spiritually. Your body needs rest. Your body was created to rest. (Note that you can only rest after labour, without the latter, you’re just lazy). The emotional strain of overworking yourself can be detrimental to your health. But we live in a society where the burn out is honoured. We aren’t patient in our stride so we chase the quick fix and aim to burn out before 30 because the overnight sensation and one-hit wonder seems more appealing than the story of a legend who work 30 years to grow something that lasted.
Biblically speaking, we are called to carry the yoke of Jesus. There is 100% a labour within this call BUT when we labour within the unforced rhythms of grace, we rest within Him as well. Too often we glorify the “Team No Sleep” struggle and encourage the growth of an unhealthy trend. It is okay to be tired and take a moment to rest, to wrap your head around what’s happening around you and to breathe. Rest is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of love, of wisdom and longevity.
Secondly, not resting puts yourself above God. Dramatic? Go read Genesis 2:2-3
God Himself rested. But in that, He sanctified it, made it holy and set a command for us to do the same. To ignore this is to ignore God and to tell Him that you are greater than He who created you.
Matthew Henry wrote this “He did not rest, as one weary, but as one well-pleased with the instances of his own goodness and the manifestations of his own glory.” That’s the thing with over-working yourself. You burn out trying to strive for perfection. The Christian worker should know more than the unbeliever the danger of this. For if we continually strive for endless goals, we chase burn out. We should be operating out of the fullness of His grace with full knowledge that all work on earth was completed through Jesus – in whom we have infinite grace and never ending rest.