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Published on September 10th, 2015 | by Discussion Questions

How do you rest without being lazy?

C.J. WRITES: I want to be productive and serve where I am, but I tend to burn out quickly. I know I should rest, but I don’t want to be selfish with my time either. Is it necessarily wrong to take a break? If not, how can I keep it within reason? How do y’all stay awake and ready to serve?

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are submitted by real rebelutionaries who are looking for godly answers to tough questions and lively conversation with other young adults. You can join the conversation by commenting below. If you'd like to submit your own discussion question, email us at [email protected]

  • Hannah

    My mom always tells me that “Sometimes the most God-glorifying thing you can do is rest.” I’m the kind of person who has a really hard time saying “no”, which means I will often overwork myself to the point that I almost can’t function properly. I think often we get so caught up in service and working hard and school (and don’t get me wrong, those are all good things!!) that we forget that God created rest. He created the world in six days and RESTED on the 7th. We need rest.

    I think the big difference between resting and being lazy is the question of “why?” If you’re sitting on the couch watching a movie because you don’t feel like starting on your homework (unfortunately I do this a lot) then that’s lazy. But at the same time, if over the last week you’ve been so stressed and overworked that you’re ready to fall apart, sometimes it may be beneficial to take a rest by watching a movie or even just going to bed. Have you ever been just so tired that it seems like you can’t talk to a sibling for more that five minutes without getting frustrated and blowing up at them? That’s not how God wants us to act either.

    That’s not to say that you should blame things like blowing up at a sibling on lack of sleep, but when we get tired, our patience does seem to shorten. The main difference is essentially that the goal of resting is still to glorify God. The goal of laziness is simply to serve self.

    • Sam G

      I think that’s a helpful point about “why” we’re working or resting.

    • YES!!

    • Julia

      Took the words right out of my mouth!

    • Okie Gal

      Thank you so much! I’ve been thinking about this question for a while and this is a huge encouragement. Thanks for answering so thoughtfully. :)

  • Hey there C.J.! This is really difficult question! One quick thing that comes to mind is this: Just make sure each day’s work gets done! Take breaks in between and relax, but just make sure you are leaving enough time to accomplish the day’s work.
    If you’re talking about something on a larger scale like working at a specific ministry or something, then I encourage you to take a break and spend time in prayer and ask God to either give you the heart, strength, and motivation to serve…or that He would reveal to you if this is really where he is wanting you to serve.
    If you’re talking about serving at home, I think we all get burned out now and then…I mean, let’s face it…changing diapers, mowing a lawn that will just grow back in 2 weeks, and washing clothes that will just get dirty again the next day isn’t always fun!! So don’t beat yourself up if that’s not always something you’re “enjoying”! To help with this, all I can tell you to do is seek God and ask him to change your heart! Only He can do that work in you! I also don’t think it’s wrong to even take a break from “home”. It’s important to have time away sometimes to spend with the Lord or just refresh and renew you to start serving at home again. =)
    As for staying awake: this is something I’m REALLY working on! I love sleeping in…and I don’t really know if it’s a “sin” or not, but for me personally I think it is, because my heart isn’t right…So, I don’t really think I have a lot of advice…But just know, it isn’t wrong to go to bed early if you’re tired…and it isn’t wrong to get a bit of extra rest in the mornings now and then if you need it! Serving doens’t necessarily mean we have to stay up til midnight and get up at 5 everyday! Maybe for some it does, but I don’t think that’s everyone’s calling…So, I don’t really have the answer for this part…but those are a couple things God has shown me…BUT, again, I don’t really know on this part…. =( Hope I was able to help some! I tried to cover most situations…. 😉

    • Sam G

      Good points there, Megan. :)

      • Thanks Sam G! That’s very encouraging becuase I wasn’t so sure it was helpful…. =P lol

        • Sam G

          Well, I think you were honest, which is the main thing. :)

    • Okie Gal

      I really like thay about making sure thr days work gets done, nut what if there’s just more work than you can do in a day?

      • Hey Okie Gal! =D I find that personally, setting goals for myself helps me. so if I’m writing a research paper for example, I might say “Okay..I have to finish the rough draft my the end of the day” or something like that…I at least set a final “finish date” (if my mom already hasn’t.. ;)). Hope that helps.. =)

        • Okie Gal

          Thanks this helps a lot.

  • k9cat15
  • jeff

    Hey C.J.! I understand your question. What you need to do is sleep when you are tired. The difference between being lazy and sleeping is you sleep to recharge. You don’t choose to be tired, it just happens. But when you are lazy, you are choosing to just sit or lay down, instead of doing work you need to do. Like homework or chores. The best answer I can give you is to make sure you go to bed at a reasonable time. Like if you have to get up for school, go to bed at 9:30. If you are a person who can’t go to sleep easily, try listening to music. Well that is what i do.

    • Hey Jeff! Welcome to the Reb!

      • MimeforJesus

        Time to dog-pile his comment! XD

        • *flourishes hand* Be my guest!

          • MimeforJesus

            *in Pa Grape’s voice* I did.

          • MimeforJesus

            So, how ya doing? Tell me if I’m being pesky, okay? I just remember my last move all too vividly… And i want to know how I can be praying for you.

          • Well, right now I’m doing pretty good, I’m tied up with a few other things so I’m not focusing on it as much. But I have my ups and downs, and when I’m down, it kind of affects every single thing I do. So if you want to pray that I could keep going with a good attitude even when I’m battling the valleys, that would be awesome! Thank you so much!
            Btw, I prayed for your test! How did you do?

          • MimeforJesus

            Ah, I never answered you!! I’m really sorry… I’m terrible with this, I think I answer someone and then I find out that I never did. :/
            I will be praying!
            My test went pretty well. It was only a practice test for when I take the real thing in a month, but now I know I can calm down a little because I should do well with a little more study. :)

    • MimeforJesus

      Hey Jeff, welcome to the Rebelution! :)

    • Haylie

      Why hello there, Jeff! Welcome!

    • That’s right, being lazy is actually when you are supposed to be doing something. 😉 R u new to the Reb?

  • harry potter

    You can just take a break from everything in your life. You could rest and do something productive at the same time. Like… reading a book for school, folding clothes and watching tv. There are so many possibilities but they are not considered being lazy. Just keep in mind that it is okay to sometimes be lazy.

  • Hannah Croswell

    There is a difference between resting and being lazy. Resting is when you need it for as long as you need it. Laziness is over resting/not doing what you should or could just ’cause you don’t want to. Rest if you need it, you’ll do better feeling rested.

  • Danny

    No, it’s not wrong to take a break. For me, I take 5-10 minutes per hour when I’m sure I can get what I need to done. 😀

  • Daniel

    God created us to work and rest consistently. Are you sleeping at night? Are you truly resting on your sabbath day? (That’s one of the 10 commandments). Consistently resting is important.

    • Sabine Castro

      Definitely! While we are no longer under the old covenant and keeping a Sabbath isn’t a must-do for us, God established all of His commandments with reason and purpose. He knows that we are limited and our bodies can’t ran on full-throttle forever. Just like He commanded that we wash our hands before we eat, which contributes to good hygiene and our health, He established the Sabbath so that we can re-energize. Not only physically but spiritually as well to take a a day every week. Even though we don’t all keep a Sabbath we would greatly benefit physically and spiritually if we did.

      • Daniel


  • Anonymous

    People definitely need to take time to rest, rest isn’t bad as long as you keep it in reason of course. You can rest without being lazy by keeping time limits on how long you rest if it’s a busy week-day. We can still be productive while we rest by doing things that are still building and benefiting us like reading good books, taking walks, talking to God or friends, etc.
    God gave us the Sabbath to rest and recharge, He commands us to keep the Sabbath day which is day of rest not meant for working but to become refreshed and spend time with Him. Our family does Sabbath on Saturday, it’s so great and refreshing and good preparation for a busy week ahead!

  • Sydney Hunt

    DEFINITELY not bad to rest!! God made our bodies to need rest. I have struggled with the same thing, because I am really busy and I feel like I need to be doing something productive all the time. I would make yourself a set time to relax. “I am going to do nothing for 20 minutes right now.” And when that 20 is up, get up and get on with life. :) :)
    -Sydney Leigh

    • Sabine Castro

      I feel you man…sometimes nothing is necessary

  • Time you break.

    • Sabine Castro

      Elaborate please. What exactly would ‘time you break’ be?

      • First of all, I am sorry, I meant to write “Time your break.” Second, people tend to take a break and then forget that they were taking a break. For example, I might take a break from drumming and decide to browse the Rebelution Blog and completely forget that I was on only for a breather.

        A timer limits your chances of being distracted; it reminds you that you are on a break; and it makes sure that you take a reasonable amount of time for a break. Also, if you use an audible timer, other people might ask what that timer was for. You would answer that it was for your break and this also adds some accountability, not that it’s really needed.

        I hope that makes sense.

    • @wisdomseekingscot:disqus Love your user name!

  • Spitfire

    As you can tell from all the other comments here, it’s not wrong to need to rest. I would suggest using your rest time as effectively as you can, while still re-energizing your body. Maybe check out some books on Christian living from the library, and just read that for 20-30 minutes when you need a break–that way, you can rest physically while still challenging your faith and learning about God. If you need mental relaxation, listen to music or a short podcast (like my favorite, the Brant & Sherri podcast, in which each episode is about 20 minutes long). If you want to make sure your rest time is still benefiting you, do something that increases your skill and/or knowledge in an area of interest, like practicing a musical instrument or reading a book about something you enjoy. Hanging out one-on-one with a close friend can also be relaxing–and it can relieve stress–and you can just do something simple but fun with them like play catch or a card game, or go out for froyo.

  • PJ Gerber

    Just a quick tip here, if you want to sleep in, go to bed earlier. I heared that scientist say that every hour of sleep before 12 will give you more or less twice the energy from an hours sleep after 12. So don’t sleep in, sleep earlier.

  • Sabine Castro

    Ok, so I don’t know from what kind of work load you have but I’m learning to deal with large work loads that often require late nights and early mornings. Honestly, its not healthy to have those kinds of sleeping habited but in my case its either that or I don’t finish my schoolwork. As for staying awake and sharp, that one can be tough. Some tips for staying awake is sleep. Even if you only sleep a few hours one night you can still be rested. You have to make your sleep worth while. Try to relax yourself the best you can before sleep, do yoga or something if that helps you but make sure you get the most you can out of your sleep. For staying awake I know many people have their go-to of coffee to stay awake throughout the day. Truly, make sure that you are having your alone time with the Lord, it sets our perspective for the day and reminds us that every day is an opportunity and renews our minds and strengthens our sonship with Abba. Also, in terms of the body drink a cold cup of water (this wakes you up because your body starts to work to regulate the temperatures in your body and wakes you up as well starts up your metabolism)
    Stay active, exercise at some point during your day, in actually gives you energy rather than drain you from it. And every has given great advice and just remember that there is a difference between rest and laziness; laziness is a choice, rest is a need. Sometimes we just need to sit or lay down and do absolutely nothing and thats fine as long as you aren’t neglected your responsibilities or always doing nothing.

  • Emily

    Find some time each day for God. I know, I know, it’s hard. When you wake up at 6:30, get ready, go to school until 2:30, have soccer practice until 5, have piano lessons until 6:30, eat dinner, shower, and do homework, it’s hard to cram anything else into a day. Maybe that means waking up 10 minutes earlier to pray or taking a few to write a prayer down in a journal. Make God a priority!

    • Wow, school in the UK doesn’t start till 9:10 and finishes at 3:30! :)

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