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The 700 Club

Take the Day Off

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Author of numerous bestselling books, latest Take the Day Off  (Faith Words, 2019)

Founding Lead Senior Pastor of Gateway Church, over 71,000 active members, third-largest church in the U.S.

Radio show, Worship & the Word, airs on more than 900 radio stations across America

TV program, Pastor Robert Morris Ministries, airs in more than 190 countries, chairman of the board of The King’s University

Wife- Debbie, one married daughter, two married sons, nine grandchildren

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In our culture of advancement and self-improvement, people are moving faster than ever. The result, tens of millions of people are experiencing burnout and perpetual weariness. Pastor Robert Morris has experienced this personally. For five years, he ran full steam during the early days of planting his church. He was afraid that if he stopped, the church would suffer. But it all came to head one day while at home when he was looking for socks. Pastor Morris explains, “Then, I opened my sock drawer. My empty sock drawer. I know it seems ridiculous, but that was it. That was the grain of sand that tipped the scales of my fragile physical and emotional well-being… A wave of sadness washed over me. I dropped to the floor and began to weep.” At that moment all logic went out the window. Pastor Morris was so exhausted that the simple solution of washing his socks didn’t even occur to him. He just broke down. While confiding in a mentor that he thought he was losing his mind, his friend reassured him that it was exhaustion. At that moment, Robert realized that he had ignored one of the 10 commandments for an entire year: remember the Sabbath and keeping it holy. As a pastor of a growing church, he didn’t think this applied to him since his job was to help others grow spiritually. Yet, his burnout showed him how vital the fourth commandment is.

Warning signs of burnout and emotional exhaustion include: A sense of failure and self-doubt; Feeling helpless, trapped and defeated; Detachment, feeling alone in the world; Loss of motivation; Increasingly cynical and negative outlook; Decreased satisfaction and sense of accomplishment. If you are experiencing any of these, it’s time to rest.

Pastor Morris knows he’s not alone in dealing with burnout. He explains, “We’re never off and never unplugged. We’re never quiet. We’re never not bombarded by tasks, information, obligation, stimulations, and aggravations. And it’s taking an enormous toll on our well-being. It’s a plague of spirit, soul, and body exhaustion.” It’s not just adults who are feeling weary. Children are, too. We are all overcommitted and it’s taking a toll. In fact, doctors are increasingly seeing patients because of stress-related ailments and 2016 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that stress-related disorders have been on the rise for decades.

All of this only emphasizes the importance of Sabbath rest. Even God took the day off on the seventh day after creating the heavens and the earth. He modeled the importance of rest for us. People tend to believe that all of the commandments apply today but ignore the importance of the Sabbath. Pastor Morris explains, “I had come to the realization that honoring the Sabbath is on the same list as not killing people. There is no logical or biblical reason to honor one and disregard the other.” The Sabbath was made for us and not us for the Sabbath. In other words, it is not a legalistic box that we check off if we attend church on Sunday. The whole point is for us to rest and replenish ourselves in the Lord. Many people find it hard to rest without feeling guilty about it. “Even when I didn’t actually do much, that guilty mindset stole my peace. I had no faith for true rest because I wasn’t convinced it was appropriate. In hindsight, I can clearly see how I was killing myself with work. That’s the state I was in when the Lord likened me to a fuel truck with no fuel to share with others,” shares Pastor Morris.

God created all of us to function in Him. We have four areas or tanks in our lives that need filling—spiritual, physical, emotional, and mental. We were created to operate from these four areas of our lives, but if we constantly give out without refueling, we will be ineffective and empty. “As Christians, our default is to focus on the spiritual tank. Often we think, ‘Well if I just pray a little, I’ll get over this,’” explains Pastor Morris. However, we also have three other tanks to fill. We know that filling the spiritual tank means spending quality time praying and reading the word. The physical tank is filled with adequate rest. The emotional tank is filled by doing things that bring us joy. For some people, this means spending time with the people they love, for others, it might be enjoying their favorite hobby. Rest and restorative activities are the keys to mental health as well.

Guest Name / Person Interviewed or Featured in Article or Video: 
Robert Morris
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