Are you a Racehorse or a Jackass?

Zechariah Newman —  June 3, 2016 — Leave a comment

In a sluggish daze, I slowly opened my eyes. I could hear my three-year-old saying, “can I get up know?” Startled out of my sleep is the way most days have begun lately. I haven’t risen early but have slept in an hour more to wake up to one of my kids posing the question. My jolting awake has usually been followed by the non-verbal actions of me rolling out of bed and unconsciously staggering toward the coffee maker.

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photo by: KCNewman photography

As the aroma of coffee began to fill the house I had a sudden thought I could not shake. Are you a Jackass or a race horse? Saturday was my first day off in a month, and I wrote this off as an exhausted mind making things up. I certainly felt nothing like a race horse.

This season has been a busy one I am running two stores and now have come on staff at my church as the Life Groups Coordinator in charge of 48 groups. I have been overwhelmed and gotten into Martha mode. Hustling the wrong way, exhausted and empty.

I went back to sleep at ten in the morning this day for a couple of hours. Then woke up for an hour and then again at one in the afternoon laid back down. Crashing in a heap mentally and physically depleted. The whole day I couldn’t get out of my mind, jackass or racehorse you choose. That was it, my day off turned into a random question and sleeping. At nine that night I was ready for bed and I slept hard yet again.

The next morning I got up and tied my running shoes and went for a run. Jogging back up my driveway I felt charged up and alive. Ready to take on the world! Have you seen race horses at the starting gates? They clamor and bang on the gates waiting to go. Chomping at the bit, nervous energy flowing through their body. If you open those gates, they are going to charge out.

The donkey not so much. Stubborn most of the time holding its ground. Anchored in position the master will try and pull the rope attached to the bridle and tug to no avail. Pulled into action against its will. It fights against instead of charging out like the race horse.

I can be the racehorse but often I am so tired I am like the jackass. Abstinent and defiant begging to not go. Worn out and exhausted I am resting from my work. We are called to work from our rest. We are called to fill up so that we can pour out. We are called to flow out from the Sabbath, but it’s hard. It’s hard because we look at the tasks and put that above all. It’s hard because people will always want your help. It’s hard because when we rest sometimes, it gives space for us to think about our failures. Rest is just hard for the go-getters. God whispers to rest, and I will give you what you need to accomplish, yet I fit as much in and try to find time to rest.

Are you feeling like a racehorse? For me, I had forgotten what that felt like. I hadn’t had space to let go and be still. Here are some things to check to make sure you keep energized and focused.

Sleep. You need to know how much you need and stick to it. If you have young kids, and you need more sleep go to bed earlier, that is the only way that you can get more. They will wake up with the sun if they are like mine.

Extrovert/Introvert. Know which you need. I love people, but I need to be alone to recharge. I was not getting my time in the morning before the kids were up and this was a factor in my burn out. Know which one you need and be proactive in it.

God. Prayer, reading the Bible, and just sitting at the feet of Jesus is necessary to having a healthy life for any Christian. The One that knit you in your mother’s womb knows what you need. Ask God and move on what He says.

Patience. Lack of patience is the root of burnout for me. I am trying to make stuff happen, and I want it to happen NOW. Charging out of the gates has served me well, and it has also led to burnout. Look at all you are trying to do and ask someone that is further down the path then you are. They will tell you if you’re trying to eat an elephant in one bite.

Lead from health and rest and look around so that you can enjoy the journey. When we rush seasons of our lives we can miss the beauty in the very moment, we are trying to work past. There will always be another mountain and always another challenge to overcome. We forget the most basic of things sometimes. “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Be blessed on your journey.

Do you struggle to rest?

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