What does it take to reset your life? If you feel stressed, overwhelmed and frustrated, this might be JUST FOR YOU! For 30 days, I’m trying to take a hard break in three main areas: food, finances and social media. These are the main areas that have been causing the most frustration (I want to eat healthy, but I don’t. I want to be debt free, but I’m not making progress. And I want to grow my blog, but I’m not sure I’m managing social media in a way that will yield the best results.) I’m ready for a change. Are you?
It’s not an easy decision.
A hard break for 30 days sounds pretty serious. Why would anyone need to take a “hard break”? And why am I writing and thinking about this?! Well, I’m glad you asked! 😉 And I’m glad a VERY successful man named Aaron Edelheit wrote a book called “The Hard Break.” Because I didn’t know I needed one and it’s been an answer to many prayers. If you’ve ever felt tired, exhausted, overworked, overwhelmed, on the edge and you can’t seem to figure out how to get off the hamster wheel, then I’m probably writing this for you as much as for me.
What is a Hard Break?
The simple answer to that question, “what is a hard break?” is this: it’s a day off. A “Sabbath,” if you’re familiar with Jewish or Christian tradition. It’s actually one of the Ten Commandments: keep the Sabbath or the Lord’s Day holy. But how exactly are we supposed to take a full day off?
Does your schedule look anything like mine?
Wake up / rush out the door / take kids to school / go to work / pick up kids from school / take kids to sports / fit in homework-dinner-bathtime-bedtime-and-family-time / do it all again tomorrow.
Saturdays might be another barrage of busyness with errands to run, more kids sports, housework, grocery shopping, etc…
And, if your family is like mine, Sundays is actually one of the BUSIEST days of the week! We are a church staff family (my husband works at our church.) We love it, but that means we’re usually among the first to arrive and the last to leave. Our Sundays begin at around 6am and don’t end until 2pm. We usually grab lunch before the almost hour-long drive home. And then we might stop for grocery shopping if we didn’t on Saturday, before we crash at home. Usually pizza delivery puts a bow on our busy week, just before we start it all over.
Where in the world was I supposed to squeeze in A HARD BREAK into this schedule?
I think that was my biggest, most important clue. The fact that there was no “margin,” no wiggle room in our schedule was EXACTLY why we needed a Hard Break.
My 2018 Word of the Year
This Hard Break idea ties in to the word I picked as my “word of the year”: MARGIN. Instead of New Year’s Resolutions, my friend Lisa shared with me a while back that she loves the concept of “My One Word.” You pray about and pick just one word to focus on for the year. It’s usually something that you sense God wants to work in your life, like patience or peace or joy. So, why did I pick the word “margin?”
I came across a devotional on the YouVersion Bible app by Craig Groeschel. It caught my eye because it had a notebook paper, filled with scribbles all over the page, spilling into the margins that were supposed to be blank. I thought “Look at that!” It’s like my life! No margin!”
I felt like God really wanted me to say NO to things so I could have margin and make room in my life to breathe. To rest. To reset.
Easy, right? NO! I talked to my husband about it, confused because I didn’t even know where to start to take a “hard break.” What could I say no to? Singing at my church? Doing prison ministry? Blogging? Social Media? AGHHH!
For weeks and months I prayed, asking God for wisdom as to when to say “No.” Man, do I have a hard time with that! Especially when the options are good, good and good, how do you pick? Providentially, God began to make it easy for me in interesting ways.
The process, I realized, had started last fall (almost exactly one year ago.) Before Hurricane Harvey hit Houston with historic flooding, a friend had shared with me something that would change for both of our gymnast daughters. Meet season was coming and some meets release the dates 1 to 2 weeks prior to the events. You don’t know ahead of time if the meet will be Saturday or Sunday.
I low key panicked. SUNDAY?! We can’t miss SUNDAYS!!! What are we going to do?
And it was like God said, you can say “no” and it’s going to be ok.
To which I replied, but God! We don’t have a back up worship leader for the Spanish service if I’m not there! And who’s going to lead the Spanish choir?
Again, God was like, it’s my church, I care about the people and I’ve got this.
I’m not sure why, but I was still worried. (Note to self, I should trust God more often.)
All of this was happening over the summer of 2017. I communicated with my worship pastors that for the duration of gymnastics meet season, my schedule was going to change. I couldn’t lead the choir anymore and I wouldn’t know my availability on Sundays until 1 to 2 weeks. I had to communicate that to several worship pastors who lead the four services I was usually involved in, Saturdays and Sundays.
I still didn’t know how this would all work out. And then Hurricane Harvey hit. Our area flooded so dramatically that we physically could not leave for about 3 weeks. We were flooded in.
That was the first of a few “Hard Breaks” that would set this new season of my life in motion.
More Hard Break Lessons
Now, one year later, I can see how God has been answering my prayers.
I asked God how to do a Hard Break.
He sent me an interview guest to the radio station to talk about his book “The Hard Break”! (Ha!)
(Note: that’s when I started calling this whole thing a “hard break.” Before that, I used the words “margin” or “rest”.)
By the way, if you’re curious about the book, here’s my Amazon affiliate link! If you check it out and buy it, I get a small comission at no extra cost to you!
God put two key women in my life (Shari and Tami), to encourage me and counsel me. They have both been in ministry, have said no, set healthy boundaries and I see how they seek to honor God in everything they do. What an inspiration and an example for me to follow!
I felt like God graciously also confirmed in my life that, when I say no, that doesn’t mean I’m closing doors. It just means I’m being obedient. Even though I’ve said no to singing opportunities, God has opened other doors that I wasn’t expecting, looking for or knocking on! (Thanks, Lord!)
Hard Break = Guarding Your Time
I’m still learning to take a hard look at my schedule and make sure I’m scheduling hard breaks every week. Am I doing this perfectly? No, but I’m trying. And I feel like my “hard break” muscles get stronger the more I practice “breaking.”
It’s not easy to break the bad habit of busyness, but it’s crucial to our health and peace of mind. I love that the author of the book talks about this with enough details to help us take him seriously.
In some ways, this has led to a 30 day whole life hard break.
For 30 days (September 1 to 30, 2018), I’m setting out to:
–take a “hard break” from Social Media.
–take a “hard break” from my debit card and use cash (see: Dave Ramsey) (ha!)
–take a “hard break” from eating out all the time for convenience (with an effort to follow the Whole30 rules as closely as I can.)
All this seems extreme and potentially life-changing, doesn’t it?
POSSIBLE IMPORTANT TAKEAWAY:
I feel like all my small imperfect efforts to make “hard breaks” have helped me realize that I was too busy to think straight and make healthy, rational decisions. I was making unhealthy decisions about food, money and time. Again, YIKES.
Here’s to the next 30 days: to reset, break away from bad habits, start creating new ones and step into an exciting new season.
Sometimes you need a Hard Break before you can move from one chapter of your life to the next.
Do you need a Hard Break?
Let me know what you think in the comments. And join me! You can start your 30 days anytime!
Laughing (and taking a hard break) thru life,