How to Take a Break

Day 1 of 5 • This day’s reading


There are 168 hours in a week. How you spend those hours matters. We fill our hours with the big things first: Jesus, family, work. Have you put your priorities in order? While those things take up most of our time, the rest of the time matters as well. To use our time well we also need to take breaks. John Brandon writes in his upcoming book, The 7-Minute Productivity Solution, “Taking a break helps you become more introspective about your goals.” If you have goals to accomplish, breaks should be budgeted into your time. 

Jesus took a break to pray at the garden prior to being arrested (Matthew 26:36-46). During this time he aligned his heart and will with his Father’s. Jesus reflected on the task before him and what it would cost. He asked God to strengthen him for the task at hand.

Do we reflect on tasks before us? Do we ask if they must be done? Do we analyze their importance or how they fit or don’t fit with our priorities? Without breaks, Brandon argues, we’re in auto-drive. We’re just doing the next thing on our list. Breaks help us keep the main thing the main thing. The things we’re doing should align with our goals and with God’s eternal purpose.

In Luke’s account of Jesus praying at the Garden of Gethsemane, he says, “Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives,” (Luke 22:39-46). Luke tells us Jesus went out “as usual.” This tells us it was routine for Jesus to step away from his demanding days and take a break with his father. Going to the Garden of Gethsemane was perhaps part of a routine for Jesus. His ministry was demanding, and he regularly stepped back to take a break. 

Jesus used the hours in his week to teach and preach the gospel. He had two goals in mind: to establish himself with the people as the Son of God and make known man’s need for salvation. But Jesus was fully human and needed time to recharge. Whether he took breaks for hours or just a few minutes, we don’t know. But we do know we are completely dependent on Christ for our strength and wisdom.

Scheduling time to step away from our tasks centers us in God’s presence and helps us clearly see what is important.