I just need a break.
Do you ever find yourself muttering this under your breath, or pleading this to your husband, lamenting this to a mom friend or yelling this at your unsuspecting children?
I just need a break. Maybe, like me, you find yourself getting creative with this statement. I just need a moment of quiet. I just need the kids to stop fighting. I just need someone else to make dinner for a change. I just need ten minutes to shower. I just need the crying to stop. I just need a night out with my husband. I just need a day at the beach. I just need a break.
Of course, there’s nothing really wrong with any of these requests. We need quiet to collect our thoughts. We need showers to maintain a semblance of hygiene. We need time with our husbands to stay unified. But the framework of these requests suggest a dangerous heart posture.
I just need a break seems innocent enough, yet this clipped declaration suggests an unspoken implication. The statement insinuates if I could just get a break then everything will be better. If I’m granted this single desire then I’ll be satisfied. If I obtain this one wish then everything else will be rainbows.
The problem is that’s a lie. Showers, quiet, dinners and dates while happy moments are just that—moments that do not offer lasting satisfaction. As sure as the rising sun, hungry, squabbling, squalling children will dirty your hair and drain your tank before the breakfast dishes even find the soapy water. Shockingly, you discover you need another break.
Here’s the thing. Breaks are good, but breaks are not what you need. You need Jesus. Let me say that again. YOU need Jesus. You NEED Jesus. You need JESUS. We know it, but do we believe it? Do we yearn for Him with every fiber of our being? Does He consume our thoughts in the relative quiet of dish washing or laundry folding? Do we burst with excitement to talk about our Father with everyone who will listen? Do we deliberately, frequently enter into the privilege of prayer just to talk with Him and to stand in awe of His loving presence?
Too frequently I fail at this. Too many times I think I need a break more than I believe I need Jesus. I believe a break will refresh me in a way Jesus can’t. As a result, I too often choose daily bread over the Bread of Life and yearn for candlelight instead of the Light of the world. But these temporal gifts aren’t meant to satisfy: they’re simply meant to draw our grateful gaze to the eternal gift Giver. The truth is Christ alone offers true, lasting satisfaction. Do you believe that? David unequivocally did. Consider his unparalleled desire for God expressed in Psalm 63:
“O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and mediate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.”
How do I honestly come to say with David that my soul thirsts for God and my flesh faints for Him; that I yearn for God more than life, so my soul clings to Him? I’m not sure, but I think it has to do with really looking at God. Gazing at Him in the sanctuary. Considering His power. Trembling at His glory. Dancing in His love. Meditating upon His salvation. All that gazing makes some things pretty evident. He is God. Unequivocally. He is my God. Undeservedly. He is a God who satisfies beyond anything this life can pretend to offer. Absolutely. He is a God whose love upholds me now. Eternally.
My breath catches in light of God’s grandeur then abruptly exhales as the crying erupts in the next room. Suddenly the rubber hits the road, and I’m presented with a choice: will God be ultimate to me? Will I invite Him to rule over my mess? Will I trust that He’s in control of the mess? Will I chafe at my present circumstances or delight in His continual presence even in these circumstances? He is more than enough and infinitely more life-giving than a break or a peaceful moment. Although most days I fail, the Father is teaching me about His sufficiency and nearness. His Spirit presses me to exclaim and trust that He’s enough even as I plead with Him to make it so. In my weakness, I beg Him to ignite a thirst that only He can satisfy and to stir a hunger He alone can fill. In my unbelief, I beg Him to create a new heart that yearns for Him more than life itself because He’s ultimate. He’s worthy. He’s satisfying. He’s glorious. He’s God. He’s mine, and I am His. I don’t need a break: I just need Jesus.