15 Signs You Might Need a Day Off

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Frankly, I’ve met a lot of church leaders who are just weary. If that’s where you are, here are some warning signs it’s time to take a day off—whether you work for a church or a secular employer.

  1. You haven’t had a day off in a month. I’m learning there’s nothing godly about workaholism. In fact, it’s idolatry.
  2. You dread going to work. If you start the day defeated, you probably need to take a break.
  3. Others comment on your fatigue. Sometimes we’re the last ones to recognize the fatigue in our face, but we seldom hide it from others.
  4. You don’t pray much about your job. We’re doing our work in our own power when we don’t pray – and that reality wears us out. Take a day off and pray.
  5. You quietly and “humbly” let folks know you’ve not taken any time off. When you feel the need to brag about your busyness, step away for a day. The work will go on without you.
  6. You’ve lost your Christian joy—particularly over your work—but you don’t know why. You might just be tired and need a break.
  7. Your family keeps asking when they’ll have time with you. Their words are a clear sign you need to lay aside your work to hang out with them.
  8. Your family doesn’t like you anymore. I’m being somewhat facetious – but not entirely. When we take out our stress and fatigue on others, we need to take a break.
  9. You don’t laugh at work any more. Laughter is evidence of some level of fun. If you used to laugh at work but no longer do, the strain will catch up with you.
  10. Nobody else around you seems to be having fun. If nobody’s having fun around you any more, it’s quite possible you’re the problem. Step away from the strain for a day.
  11. Your eating and workout habits are going downhill.  Even if you get all your work done, but at the expense of your health, you haven’t ultimately helped anybody.
  12. Illnesses are recurrent. Overcoming an illness usually demands rest and sleep. Both require taking the time to do them.
  13. Your job stress keeps you awake at night. You’re not getting much rest because your job’s always on your mind.
  14. You haven’t taken a vacation in years. I’ve learned that this issue goes hand-in-hand with needing a day off. People who never take a vacation often never take a day off, either.
  15. You no longer thank God for your job. When you’re no longer grateful to Him, you probably need to take a day or two to get refocused.

What would you add to this list?

*Article was originally published in August 2020 at

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Chuck Lawless

Director of the Center for Preaching and Pastoral Leadership

Dr. Chuck Lawless currently serves as Professor of Evangelism and Missions, Dean of Doctoral Studies, and Vice-President for Spiritual Formation and Ministry Centers at Southeastern Seminary, in addition to serving as Team Leader for Theological Education Strategists for the International Mission Board. He previously served as a Vice-President for Global Theological Advance for the IMB. Prior to that, he was dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism at Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY, where he also served as Vice President for Academic Programming and the Director of Professional Doctoral Studies. He received a B.S. degree from Cumberland College and M.Div. and Ph.D. degrees from Southern Seminary. He is the author of eight works, including “Membership Matters,” and “Spiritual Warfare,” and has contributed numerous articles to denominational periodicals. He and his wife Pam have been married for over 25 years and reside here in Wake Forest, NC.

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