It blows my mind to think that there is just one month left in the year. What happened to the days? They went by faster than a speeding bullet. I am still trying to catch up.
At the beginning of the year I had a long list of stuff to accomplish. I began working on them but was railroaded by two bouts of illness that stole months from me. For a while it left me in a state of panic. I was frantically trying to complete as much as possible of these projects before the year ends. When I am hard-pressed for deadlines I will do whatever it takes to meet my targets. Time with family, relaxation and sleep would be through out the window. I did just that for the past three weeks. Weariness and tiredness was hitting me but I kept pushing forward. I was resolved to end the year very strong.
As I was pushing for another long night, my wife said something to me that I initially ignored. Nothing was going to hinder me from meeting my goals. Not even her advise. If I had to continue for another three weeks or month with little or no sleep then so be it. That was the price I was willing to pay but her words kept ringing in my ears.
“Get rest. Take a fresh approach to the work. You know how you can get when you do not get enough sleep. Get some rest.”
Something about her words penetrated my inner being. I continued to work. While my mind went on a trip. It went back to my younger years. I have always stretched myself beyond my limits. At work I would go above and beyond the assigned tasks. Watching my mother work tirelessly to provide for her five children for decades without a vacation left me with a resolve to work equally hard.
Every problem was just an opportunity to learn and grow. I attacked them with the ferocity of a hound dog on a scent. There was no stopping until victory was won.
I would become so fixated on the goal that I hardly slept. Going with little sleep would affect my body and my efficiency in other areas but it did not stop me. My temper would flare easily. There was no patience. Thank God for changing me. One day He spoke directly to me about my approach to work. Now with meditation on scripture, fasting, the guidance of the Holy Spirit, my wonderful wife and daily and weekly reflection I do things a little differently. I am far less prone to act rashly. One of my primary goals now is to show the love of God to my neighbor. So I consider people’s feelings before I speak or act. When I slip up I quickly apologize (well most times).
After getting married I went back to my old ways. I started to push forward with very little sleep. When the tiredness became a bit much I would ask the Lord to strengthen me. Sometimes God would be so merciful that while I am praying He would put me to sleep. Four hours later when I wake up I would be refreshed and completely energized. although God did that I did not get the message. I would jump back into the same old routine.
Working like this seems great. Goals are being met. The push for success is maintained but there is a hidden danger. In time the effects of it may be felt. God created the body to repair itself during times of resting and relaxation. You may use the anointing to push forward but operating in supernatural strength was never meant to help us work forever. There are some saints from the past revivals who died early or made great mistakes that destroyed their ministry because they were too busy doing the work of the Lord to get adequate rest.
From beginning God himself established night and day to ensure we rested. Jesus said he must be busy doing the Fathers work during the day for night comes when no man can work. He operated with cycles of hard work and rest. We can see in scripture that there were many times that he separated from the crowd to rest. He even took the disciples away from the crowd so they could rest at times.
Never underestimate the important of sleep and rest. God also established the Sabbath day to provide us with a day for being rejuvenated in His presence. As we take the time to worship Him our body undergoes deep repairs. Adam observed this spiritual law.
I know it is almost the end of the year. There are many things on your ‘to-do list’. By all means, please continue to work hard on them. But never loose sight of the things that matter most. Your relationship with God is first and foremost. Next are family and friends. Your goals are also a priority but never ever forget rest and relaxation.
In everything you do strive for balance. Allow yourself that luxury. You are worth it. In 2003 a friend gave me advise that has rested with me to this day. She told me about a very ambition friend. He performed outstandingly well at everything. He had success and wealth at a young age. He constantly pushed himself. Then one day he suffered a massive stroke. IT destroyed his body and mind. His mother had to care for him for his few remaining days. That advise was given when I worked a 70-80 hour week work shift, attended school part-time and had a side hustle. Sleep was thrown through the window. I was far too headstrong to consider her advise. It cost me. I suffered two burn-outs. I had no choice but to slow down. It took one year before my body recovered after school ended.
Please take time to attend to you. Yes! Yes! Yes! It is just one month before the year ends. I know you have lots of things to accomplish. Work on them but take care of you. When next year comes you will be more than able to continue the work.
I can guarantee you that God will not leave you. He will be right there with you. Opportunities you think you may have missed will present itself.
Your life is meant to be a marathon. Not a 100 meter dash! Do not be afraid to slow down and rest.