You deserve a break today.
And if you can read that without thinking of the rest of the McDonald’s jingle, you’re probably really young. McDonald’s ran that as their tag line from 1970 to 2014, finally retiring it after forty-four years.
Of course, it’s more than just a slogan, it’s something we should all keep in mind. And be sure to follow through on when it’s timely, not desperate. I’ll get to that in a minute, but you can see why this was a real gem of an advertising campaign when it first came out. It hits on three key things that you want to hear: you’re deserving; it’s an opportunity to step away from whatever you’re busy at, whether that’s work, play or some other activity; and it’s not just space you’re getting, it’s something of value that’s enjoyable, satisfying and fulfilling (even though you have to pay for it and there may be some question as to whether McDonald’s actually fulfilled that part … ). The assumption is that the end result will be you being refreshed, renewed and happy. That’s a good thing. (I think that one’s Martha Stewart’s slogan.)
It is a good thing. And it’s important to ensure that we all make time for a break that renews and refreshes us, that energizes - or re-energizes us - for the fulfilling life we want. Easy to say, Robin, but not always easy to do.
Right. Because, first of all, we’re all unique individuals in unique situations. Of course, so only you will know when you should make space for yourself. The important part is to remember to do it before it’s absolutely necessary. Or too late. The other thing is to ensure that your “break” is filled with what will re-energize you, inspire you, refresh you and bring you back to what you were doing with the enthusiasm and energy to give your best “you” to it. Maybe you do just need some sleep, but maybe you need a walk, a book, a game, a craft or an activity. Maybe you need people, that’s especially tricky right now.
Both those things require some discernment. And maybe a little help and encouragement from others. The point is, it’s more than physical. It’s mental and spiritual, too. We need something that refreshes, re-energizes and inspires to balance what wears us down, drains and dulls us.
Don’t take my word for it. Or McDonald’s. How about Jesus?
Many times, the gospels have stories of Jesus going “off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” Mark’s gospel has Jesus so busy right from the start of his ministry healing people and bringing them wellbeing that he first does that a mere 35 verses into the first chapter. His own wellbeing is important and he just needs to get away from everyone and pray.
And I don’t for a minute think he’s just “checking in with the boss.” I think Jesus’ prayer might begin “dear God, I’m so tired” and continue on with wonder. He might wonder about many things, but the point is, he talks to God, he wonders, maybe even ponders, things that will refresh his spirit. Maybe he needed the walk, too. Or did some yoga or went for a swim. Maybe he read a book or watched Netflix. The point is, he tried to find time for his own wellbeing, for his own wholeness.
Later, Jesus will teach people to “love your neighbour as yourself.” But he began early with care for your neighbour as yourself.