3 Reasons Why Crazy-Driven Ambitious-Type Leaders Need to Relax

Consider this, for example. If you’re a parent, you’ll never get your kids’ formative years back. Your constant absence from their lives now won’t be compensated for by early retirement or your sudden realization you’re working too many hours later. By that point, your kids won’t be 8 years old anymore. They’ll be 18 or 28. And it will be too late.

Sure…God redeems time, but he doesn’t give you the hours you squandered back.

2. Rest Is a Gift. It’s Also Great Strategy.

If there’s one lesson I learned since I burned out, it’s that rest is a gift.

We all know that God rested on the seventh day. He also designed life with regular pauses scripted in. There was to be no work to be done once every seven days.

And if you’ve ever read the Old Testament, you might realize God loves a party. There were regular holidays, festivals and even mandated celebration in Old Testament life.

For us A types, remember—God wants us to enjoy life.

As the creator of our bodies and souls, he also realized that we function best when we’re rested and full of good things.

We may think we’re being heroes working 12-hour days six or seven days a week, but the truth is you’re not equally efficient or effective in all those hours. I’m not. You’re not. Most of us have three to five super productive hours a day.

So for sure, rest is a gift. It’s also a strategy.

Brain research abounds these days, and findings increasingly show that chaining yourself to a desk or laptop is the best way to deaden your brain. Sleep, rest, exercise and replenishment actually make you more productive when you’re working. That’s why you get your best ideas when you’re in the shower, or when you’re mowing your lawn.

I get my best ideas when I’m cycling, on my days off or doing work other than work. Literally, the sequences in your brain fire differently when you’re resting. God designed it that way. Creatives…pay attention.

Your best ideas will often come when you’re resting or not trying to work. Eliminate rest, and you eliminate your best ideas.

Follow the bread crumbs? Rest is a strategy. You’re so much better at work when you’re rested.

3. You’ll Actually Get the Rest You’re Ignoring One Way or Another

Here’s a final motivator for those of us who refuse to slow down…like the old me.

Even though God mandated regular rest, there’s little evidence the Israelites took him up on his advice. The Sabbath was probably broken more than it was observed. And most people believe that the Sabbath of Sabbaths (the year of Jubilee, where work was shut down for a full year every 50th year) was never actually celebrated.

In other words, driven people were too afraid to take time off, so like us, they ignored God’s design.

So after generations of Israelites ignoring God’s command, their nation fell. And after it fell, this poignant verse in scripture makes a haunting claim.

So the message of the Lord spoken through Jeremiah was fulfilled. The land finally enjoyed its Sabbath rest, lying desolate until the 70 years were fulfilled, just as the prophet had said. (2 Chronicles 36:21)

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Carey Nieuwhof
Speaker and podcaster Carey Nieuwhof is a former lawyer and founding pastor of Connexus Church, one of the largest and most influential churches in Canada. With over 6 million downloads, The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast features today's top leaders and cultural influencers. His most recent book is “Didn’t See It Coming: Overcoming the 7 Greatest Challenges That No One Expects and Everyone Experiences.” Carey and his wife, Toni, reside near Barrie, Ontario and have two children.

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