In our work-worshiping society, that is no small task. Many have cultivated such an unrealistic standard of high-level achievement that a neurotic compulsion to perform, to produce, to accomplish the maximum is now the rule rather than the exception. Enough is no longer enough.
Christians are not immune from stress fractures, especially vocational Christian workers. How many pastors or missionaries do you know who truly enjoy guilt-free leisure? How many Christian executives can you name who really take sufficient time to relax? On the other hand, how often have you heard someone boast about not having taken a vacation in several years? Or being too busy to have time to rest and repair?
Work is fast becoming the American Christian’s major source of identity. The answer to most of our problems (we are told) is “work harder.” And to add the ultimate pressure, “You aren’t really serving the Lord unless you consistently push yourself to the point of fatigue.” It’s the old burn-out-rather-than-rust-out line. Let’s go with a different rationale: not only, “It’s okay to relax,” but also, “It’s essential!” Without encouraging an irresponsible mentality, it says, “You can have fun and still be efficient.” In fact, you will be more efficient!
Join me in this prayer to start our new commitment:
Lord, our God,
Our world has become too small, too routine, too grim. We are enduring the scenery instead of enjoying it. We really take ourselves too seriously . . . and our stress continues to multiply.
We desire change . . . a cure from this terminal illness of dullness and routine.
You have made us whole people who are free to think and relax in leisure, not slaves chained to a schedule. Enable us to break loose! Show us ways to do that. Give us the courage to start today and the hope we need to stay fresh tomorrow . . . and the next day, and the next.
Bring the child out from within us. Introduce us again to the sounds and smells and sights of this beautiful world you wrapped around us. Convince us of the importance of friendships and laughter and wonder. Put our world back together.
May we become people like Your Son, committed to the highest standard of excellence and devotion to Your will, yet easy to live with and at peace within.
In His strong name we pray,
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