The Value of Taking a Break

Because discouragement make for an insidious enemy…

Taking a break can be refreshing in so many ways, especially during stressed, discouraging, or tiring times. Even enforced breaks, such as my recent blogging break was! What else could I do with no internet service?

Often on our ministry trips we’re without internet connections, and in more remote areas even phone reception! But we’ve learned that the enforced slowing down that comes with this helps us reflect and remember the important things in life. And we always return refreshed, restored, and with new vision. (Yet it can also be frustrating!)

Which reminded me of another much needed, impromptu break we once took.

I remember feeling discouraged about our work here. Wondering if anyone even listens or if we’re making any difference at all.

Discouragement makes for an insidious enemy. One which I’m sure sneaks up on you too. For it doesn’t seem too particular about who it visits. It treats us all equally.

Well, we went down to the city that day for things we can’t find in our area. And upon returning home, we took a relaxed stroll through the village, stopping off for pizza and a glass of wine.

And it reminded me that we often touch lives in ways we’re unaware of.

They had a going away party that evening for a woman with whom Hubby had worked (teaching preschool English), who was getting transferred. She stopped by our table to say goodbye. And to tell us that she would never forget us.

No, perhaps we don’t seem to make much progress here in helping others see God’s goodness. Perhaps we will never see our seeds germinate, take root, or ripen for harvest. And perhaps your efforts at touching lives for him don’t seem to matter either.

But that incident reminded me that if we’re faithful to point the way to the Lord of the harvest, he will keep our planted seeds incubating. Others will remember, not only our words and kindness, but also the One we’ve pointed them to.

Over-focusing on our problems only makes them seem bigger. Some problems really are huge and extremely difficult, and I don’t want to minimize them. But even so, over-focusing often makes them seem even greater.

So when feeling overwhelmed, let’s not forget the value of taking a break.

Maybe you can’t go out for dinner, but do something else. Take a walk. Sit outside with a cup of tea or coffee. Visit a friend or go window shopping. Get out into the wider world. Because that can help us see that our life and world are really quite small in the bigger picture of life.

Problems come and problems go. But if in the midst of them, we make time to get away and reflect, the Lord can renew our vision, focus, and energy. Reminding us that he is always greater and always with us.

And that he is still saying, “BE STILL and know that I am God,” (Psalm 46:10).

Author: Signora Sheila

Missionary blogger, wife, mom, nonna. Join my simple life journey of faith and missions in small town Italy!

17 thoughts on “The Value of Taking a Break”

  1. Yes. An enforced slowing down is great — unless one is ill or otherwise inconvenienced. We all need to take breaks. Welcome back, Sheila!
    I have been often MIA in action this year, and I am finally proud to say there are two books to show (drum roll, please Sheila!), and both are recently released. And now I’d love to take a break, or just slow down, but can’t yet!

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    1. Thanks Cynthia. And congratulations on your books!! That is so great, and I should get a chance to check them out this week – now that I’m getting caught up on everything. Hope they do really well.

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  2. Perspective is such a wonky thing. Even with years of experience and wisdom, feeling as if I’m not accomplishing what the Lord needs me to do can still creep up and grab me from behind. I love the focus on being still–a close-to-impossible task in busy American culture. Thanks for pointing me back to where stillness is my gift from God.

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    1. Thanks for your perspective, Dayle. And I know what you mean. We do seem to be hot-wired to do and achieve. I guess that’s why the Lord created rest, and even made it a commandment. He seemed to know that unless forced to, we would neglect this important aspect of our spiritual, mental and physical well-being. May we always remember how important stillness (especially in him) is!

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  3. Perhaps you’re familiar with the story of a church elder who once led a worship service for two. It happened over 150 years ago in England. A blizzard on Saturday night made it impossible for villagers to get to the church—including the pastor. The elder almost sent home the two individuals who had come, an older man and a young boy. But something (Someone?) compelled him to speak. Later he confessed his words came out rather jumbled and brusque. But. The elder planted a seed that immediately took root. The young boy accepted Jesus as his Savior. His name? Charles Spurgeon! That story (told by Max Lucado in one of his books–I can’t remember which!) comes to mind now and then and provides such hope and encouragement to me. I hope it does the same for you, dear Sheila!

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    1. Wow Nancy, that is a huge encouragement! And a great reminder that God calls us to be faithful. The rest is up to him. We really never do know how our words or actions can touch other lives for sure. Thanks so much for sharing!

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  4. Hi Sheila, good to see you back on WordPress. My family are looking forward to our Italian break in a few weeks! God bless you in your work- and although this isn’t a direct Bible quote, I’m sure God values quality over quantity- fruitfulness is about faithfulness, not numbers! Welcome back 🙂

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    1. Thanks Robert. And yes, God does care more about faithfuness than numbers. Thanks for that good reminder. Enjoy your time in Italy and with family. Hopefully by then it will have cooled off. It’s pretty warm right now.

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  5. Good for you, Sheila! I myself will be taking off from blogging in August. We all need time to refresh and indulge in His rest. I mean, even Jesus would go away alone to pray for a season. How much more do we mere mortals need likewise. Haha! May you and Mario have a wonderful time enjoying each other and the Lord at your summer home. A summer home sounds pretty good right about now!

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    1. Thanks for your well wishes, Vanessa! We are enjoying the summer home. Even though, of course, the first couple days are pretty much non-stop work. The lonely people here were so GLAD to see us. They’d been waiting!! After another few days, we’ll probably start taking a few outings. We’ve never really visited this national park (Cilento) much. And we do feel a real need for a break! We’ll also be visiting some churches in the area though. So it’s sort of a work-vacation. And good for you for taking August off. Good to enjoy free-time & family time! Take care!

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  6. A wise decision from a wise woman! Enjoy being immersed in God’s blessings. Your presence at the Summer house will touch many people too, I’m sure. I often feel the same and then feel guilty that I don’t have something to post. But God moves me to post when it’s time and even if not many people respond to my blog…that’s OK. Even if one person is touched by it, the job is done. And, for me, the blog helps me process things too…so, if no one else benefits, I do!! MANY MANY BLESSINGS! Heather

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    1. So true Heather. Even if only person is touched – the job is done. And speaking for myself, sometimes the one touched is ME! I often feel that I blog more my own good than anything! As far as being a wise woman – thanks for that vote of confidence…but this is an endless journey! Hugs & blessings!

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  7. To go through all that, so that God can teach you about having the right perspective. He does use some of the least expected things to teach us some important lessons. I remember being extremely frustrated, and staying up way too late to fix my blog after the move to self-hosted. It sure drove me to prayer and to acknowledge that He is Lord over all, even over WordPress.

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    1. Ha! Well, I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who has such difficulties! And I didn’t even do most of the move myself! And yes, Ai, he is Lord over all! Thanks for the encouragement!

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    1. Thanks Levi! No, I wasn’t in that state during all that. Hope I never have to do that again, or at least not for a long time! Have a great weekend too.

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