There are three great reasons to step away and refresh oneself when working on a project. Today we will look at the first reason. The second reason is to rest our mind and the third is to restore our emotional energy.
#1 Stepping away almost always gives us fresh insights.
Sometimes we can be so enmeshed in a project we lose all perspective. When I was writing my Christmas novel it was December. December!! Think about that!
Who in the world decides to finish a novel in the month of December? Only truly crazy people who’ve completely forgotten they have DIY Christmas presents to finish, cookies to bake and a house to decorate.
Anyway, I kept at it and I got it done and handed it over to my niece to run through her program and get it ready for sale on Amazon. I even got so far as to download it, only to have Amazon give me a red flag that there were spelling mistakes.
I mean I had reread that book a dozen times at least. So I immediately took it off Amazon and corrected the mistakes. Obviously, I needed to step away.
But then I had an epiphany. Was I really going to publish a book with some corrected spelling errors and assume the rest was OK? I realized then that I had set a goal for myself that was unattainable. I had ignored the stuff I love doing at Christmas because of my self-imposed timetable. It was really too late to publish a Christmas book anyway.
I knew right then that I needed to step away from the project for a time being. I had ignored so much. I needed the space to let my characters develop as I went about doing the “fun” stuff of Christmas. I would’ve completely missed the season and its
I put the book on my computer’s back shelf and left it there.
How stepping-away worked with my novel
Interestingly, as I did that my characters started to reveal themselves to me over this time period. They have found their voices because I gave them time to refresh as well. They were probably feeling as though they were being squeezed into people they weren’t.
If you haven’t written a novel, the last paragraph isn’t as absurd as you might think. All novelists will tell you their characters become very real and start to develop their own voices. It’s actually very exciting and interesting to see how that happens and I can’t wait to get back to it. It needs more character development and a couple of loose ends tied up and I hope to have it ready by July 25.
Refreshes those around you
But stepping away refreshes others as well, even fictional others. I’m sure my husband was getting worried about me as he watched me feverishly write every day. Other people worry when they see us tackle something too intensely.
I think of Jesus. If ever there was an example of knowing when He needed to refresh, it’s Him. Yes, He loved people and love His ministry, obviously. But sometimes it got to be too much for Jesus as well which is why he refreshed by heading to the hills for prayer and reflection.
There are so many portions of Scripture that speak to the need for refreshment. I can’t possibly list them all. But I think the one that comes to mind immediately is Psalms 23: 2& 3
“He makes me lie down in green pastures; He restores my soul.
Why we don’t step away
The reason we don’t stop is that we’re afraid our project, our goal, won’t be met. I was like that, too. I thought if I didn’t keep at it I would be a failure, in my eyes anyway. But God was making it very clear that I could trust him with my “step-away” time.
How do I know God is the one asking me to step away?
But some of you may be asking, “How do I know if it’s God telling me that or just that I’m wanting to give up.” Good question.
Ask yourself, do I have a habit of giving up? If you do, then you need to make sure that this is not the case. If you’re not sure, give yourself a deadline for how long you will step away. And, of course, you need to know that what you are doing is from God in the first place.
I knew my book was a prompt from God, and I seldom give up on anything so it was easy for me to know it was God’s voice instructing me.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, that’s a good reason all by itself. Certainly, God doesn’t want that for you and if it continues to be the case when you come back to your project, it might well be time to examine if it’s something you should even be pursuing.
Look at it this way. God wants you healthy and whole. If stepping away for a short time accomplishes that, then you can be sure God is behind it.
James 3: 17 states that “the wisdom from above is pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” If stepping-away falls within most of these criteria, you can safely assume God is behind it.
Stepping-away might be the only way to figure out where God is in all this.
So if you’re feeling overwhelmed, step away. Refresh. Renew. Restore. It doesn’t have to be weeks or months. It might just be a few hours. I am doing much better at the mini-refreshes. In fact, a mini-stepping-away might just well prevent the need to for longer step-aways.Tweet
Tonorrow we will look at reason number two, stepping away to rest our minds.
God bless and have a great day.