bENCOURAGEd to: Take a Break From Your Breakthrough

Tuesday's Tip to bENCOURAGEd...

We should all be striving each day to grow, stretch, and develop through our next breakthrough, but if we are not mindful, we can become consumed by trying to break through to our next level. Pushing ourselves will only leave us unfulfilled and disappointed. It is important to take a break from our breakthrough.

Even in the most ideal surroundings pursuing a breakthrough can break you. I remember a time when I had been traveling for about six weeks straight - working about eighty hours a week and gearing up for another two weeks of hard work and long hours. At the time I was helping to open a restaurant in beautiful sunny Orlando, Florida. My opening supervisor took notice of my sweaty brow and increased cough and sent me back to my hotel room. All I could think about was the work - I was working on several projects that would solve problems for my company and lead to a breakthrough promotion. I thought that I did not have time for rest, but without the rest I was breaking.

My supervisor was not the only person who took notice of my "work-a-holic" approach. After a visit to a local doctor, some antibiotics, and two restful nights of sleep I received an unexpected phone call. With mouth dropped open I listened to my supervisor’s boss - ask me how I was doing and let me know that he wanted to take me out to lunch the next day. Agreeing and hanging up the phone I was in shock, but excited at the same time.

Walking into my lunch meeting with such an important businessman, I was expectant that this was the breakthrough I had been working towards, but what I discovered was even better. Over sandwiches and soup that businessman encouraged my work ethic, productivity, and great attitude, but then he spoke a phrase that changed my approach to work. He said, “Amber, you are no good to me dead.” He went on to explain that he learned along time ago that pushing through and working hard is good, but balancing it with rest and enjoying life is where the longevity is found. He told me that he had been monitoring my work for months from others and although my work had been stellar, a common theme was - a concern for how long I could sustain the pace I was keeping. These words were unexpected, but life changing.

From that moment on I began - on purpose - pursuing work with a new approach. His words rang in my ears as I began balancing work with rest - taking breaks from my breakthroughs. Only a few months later I was promoted as the youngest person at that time to become one of their opening supervisors and a consultant for thirteen of their franchises.

Being a focused "get the job done" type, I have some times caught myself blinded by my own self development and not enjoying the process. When I was younger I would not even think twice before putting on my accomplishment roller skates and whizzing through each day grasping for the finish line, but God has, in His loving way taught - and continually teaches - me how to slow down.

I know that there are some people that have a hard time wrapping a productive mind around how to rest and still move. I struggled with this as well and as I asked God for wisdom He directed me to a not so common story in the Bible. In 2 Chronicles, chapter fourteen through sixteen, there was a king named Asa. This king loved God and spent a lot of time and energy ridding his kingdom of false idols, pillars, and images. Along with this great task he also executed plans for the buildings of righteous cities with forts to protect them. This man was a productive king, but it is interesting that the word rest is used in the telling of this man’s journey. King Asa speaking to his kingdom had these words to say...

"...because we have sought the Lord our God; we have sought Him, and He has given us rest on every side, So they built and prospered,"

(14:7 NKJV).

King Asa learned that by resting in God, God would make rest for him. He worked hard, but still rested. And by taking breaks he and his kingdom prospered. Through his life we can learn both sides of taking a break and breaking down. Towards the end of his reign he turned away from the resting place of God and eventually became filled with sickness in the last days of his life. His approach is a lesson to us on how to take a break from our breakthroughs.

But how do we balance it all? Great question! My concern was that if I took a break I would become unmotivated and unproductive, but with the right approach the opposite occurs.

~ Take a break and spend time each morning with God and identifying daily priorities - then breakthrough spinning your wheels on low priorities

~ Take a break for lunch and enjoy a book, a view, or the company of another person - then breakthrough the view of only focusing on work

~ Take a break at the end of the day by closing up the work and exercising, laughing while watching a funny show, or playing outside - then you will enjoy breakthrough health that will sustain your tomorrow.

We should all be striving each day to grow, stretch, and develop through our next breakthrough, but if we are not mindful, we can become broken by trying to break through to our next level. Pushing ourselves will only leave us unfulfilled and disappointed. Of course be Productive, but remember in all that we do - we must bENCOURAGEd Today by choosing to take a break from our breakthrough.

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