Posts Tagged ‘#withdrawandpray’

I didn’t really get it fully, until the consequences were too close to home … actually they weren’t just close to home, but they reverberated from the foundation right up to the top of the roof.

The it I refer to is the very real necessity and freedom to use sick days, provided through our employment benefits, as mental health days. To understand that a conflicted heart, a weary soul, an unwell brain are as valid a sick day as vomiting, a migraine or even symptoms of Covid is to have evolved as a worker, an employer and a society.

On a website called Bored Teachers I read this quote :

“My first year of teaching, my principal looked at me in the eyes and told me that sick days were for my mental health too, and to never forget that. It was the best advice anyone has ever given me.”

We have all heard people brag about their unused sick days, even referring to them as banked, as if in not taking sick days they had made an investment.

Though there are those of us who are truly blessed with good health, the goal of sick days is not to accumulate them, but to have them available when employees are ill … when they cannot do their best work.

Sometimes it is not just when we are physically ill that we cannot do our best work, but when we are emotionally or mentally exhausted.

Added to this, though we may be able to push through and do good work even when we are not feeling best, we may do more danger to ourselves by living by the mottos of keep calm and carry on, push through the pain or just get through the day. Heart disease, digestion-related problems and infections are just three of the areas of our physical bodies that can be negatively effected by ignoring our mental health struggles.

Mental resilience or grit is a great life goal, but it can only be developed within a well rested (physically and mentally) individual.

In the Bible there are numerous accounts of Jesus take a mental health day.

Ok, so maybe that is not how it is worded in these narratives, but … they are instances when the work was still needing to be done, yet Jesus either sent his disciples away, or he removed himself from the work at hand for a time.

After hearing of the death of John the Baptist, “he (Jesus) withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself” (Matthew 14:13).

As the crowds were gathering, Jesus said to his disciples, “come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat” (Mark 6:31). Now, the passage goes on to say he had compassion on the crowds, then fed them … some times we do need to push through! But, then, once they were fed … keep reading :

After feeding the five thousand he sent them away, “and after sending away the crowds, he got into the boat and went …” (Matthew 15:39). He sent them away and then he got outa town.

After teaching for a period of time it says, “leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was” (Mark 4:36). He needed refreshment and separation from the task at hand.

“Great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray” (Luke 5:15-16). Take note of this … he withdrew and prayed … when we take a mental health day, Netflix is not our top priority, but intimacy with and rest in Jesus!

“And he entered a house and did not want anyone to know …” (Mark 7:24)

“They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Sit here while I pray.’” (Mark 14:32)

Sick days are for those who are sick, who cannot do their job best, be it a sore throat of a muddled mind.

Though it has taken me years to understand the validity of mental health days, I have seen the long term results of pushing through to meet the needs of the crowds.

“Yet He frequently withdrew to the wilderness to pray.”
Luke 5:16

(* and if you take a needed mental health day, don’t just withdraw, but pray … it is the best filling for emptiness)


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