Do you feel guilty when you rest?

Do you feel guilty when you rest? I often do.

Earlier this week I had a good day. You know, it was productive. Right away I tackled some stuff I had been avoiding for weeks. And when that was done, I took on the next daunting task.

It felt good. Later, I recorded in my journal that I felt like I had played all out; I had left nothing on the field.

That was good work.

Do you feel guilty when you rest?


But then it came time to rest and I don’t rest as well. Mainly because I love what I do and my mind keeps thinking up new stuff to do. Recreation can often feel like I’m wasting time when I could be pushing the ball farther. So when I rest, I feel guilty.

It’s my own fault—and not because I have too much to do. I’ve programmed my brain to not rest well. So often, I’ve used the excuse of rest as a rationalization for avoidance. When I’m procrastinating, it’s easy to play the McDonald’s jingle, “You deserve a break today.” Inwardly I know, however, that I’m just wasting time. Those repeated rationalizations have conditioned me to feel guilty during times of genuinely deserved rest following good work. Guilty rest is bad rest.

So after a period of good work, I have to intentionally choose to have a period of good rest. A friend of mine uses the phrase “Good work; Good rest” as a self-reminder to practice both in a healthy way. Lately, it’s my watchword as well. Sometimes good rest takes good work.

In my next blog post I’ll share some signs of good work and good rest. Until then, share yours with me.

What are some of the signs of good work and good rest in your life?

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3 thoughts on “Do you feel guilty when you rest?

  1. This post accurately reflects one of my problems. We have been on the missionfield for a year now. I used to earn a paycheck from a large corporation and could measure my results daily. I rested and fealt I deserved it when I did. Now that I am on the missionfield, everything has changed. The biggest reason is that I am now being supported by others. I feel a responsibillity to maximize their faithful gift to the Lord’s work. I feel like I should not be taking a vacation. And I certainly be using their hard earned money to pay for it. I feel guilty if I rest during the afternoon. Sure, I get one day a week off, but should I really be resting during the day at all? Can I take a nap when I am exhausted? Can I play with the kids for an afternoon since I work well into the nights many nights? Of course I know the answer to that. But I feel guilty anyway. As long as I am receiving support from others, I feel that sense of responsibility to always be working.

    • Hi Scott. I’ll bet there are a lot of missionaries who feel that same sense of obligation you described. As I read your comment, I couldn’t help thinking about you with one of those cartoon caricature dudes, sitting on your shoulder, always offering commentary on what you do and whether it’s enough. That dude can get annoying particularly when you keep reminding him your support is a gift given in order for you to give the very best of yourself as one. I have one of those dudes on my shoulder too. 🙂

  2. I have very newly started to feel the need and desire to take steps in trying to regain my faith which was lost decades ago. The title of this article Def caught my eye because I feel extremely guilty when I rest at night. I’ve been having disturbing dreams that are in all ways positive. So much so I almost think it is God trying to ease my pain. When I wake up though and am back in reality I take them as punishment for my sins because I know it’s not a possibility. This has me very unsure about what to believe

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