Sometimes Faith Means Taking a Break

When you read this, you’re probably going to think, well, duh, what took her so long? The other day, I got stuck. It had to do with writing, but it could’ve been about anything.

Here’s my not-so-pretty pattern:

I try too hard. Drink too much coffee. Focus so intently on the problem, I shut out the rest of the world. Sometimes … even God.

A tiny thought came to me.

Why don’t you surrender this?

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh! That word again. Surrender was my theme for 2012.

For me, surrender means saying, “Help me, Lord.”

“Okay,” I whispered, opening my hands and lifting them. “I can’t fix this by myself.”

And then I got a crazy idea.

I decided to stop working, take a break, and make a cheesecake.

I shut down my computer and left my little loft office.

At the grocery store, I didn’t rush around like a madwoman. I smiled at small children and didn’t get annoyed because I got in the slow lane.

Back at home, the football game was on. I even asked the score. 🙂

(Use these cookies and your cheesecake will be gluten-free.)

Because I wasn’t obsessing, my mind was free to think gentle thoughts.

I didn’t lose count with my eggs. My meringue turn out just right.

I’m discovering (after 50 years!) it’s okay to have fun–even when your work’s not completely finished.

I’m finally beginning to understand …

It honors God when I let go  of my problem(s) and take a break.

The answer to my writing problem came a couple of days later, after I stopped trying so hard.

“Do the things that show you have really changed your hearts and lives.” Matthew 3:8 NCV

Have you ever struggled with pushing too hard like me?

What do you do to chill out?

Click here for the cheesecake recipe.




  1. oh my goodness….this is HUGE . HUGE! I’m so proud of you and thank you for reminding me …I’ve had the most STRESSFUL week and have been pushing pushing pushing…I’m going to go to Starbucks right now for a latte xooxoxo

    • Your comment makes me smile all the way to my toes, Robin. You’re one of my friends who teaches me this little jewel of Truth.

      Praying for your stressful week.

      It’s so ironic–when the stress hits, we naturally think, push, push, push, try, hurry, worry.

      And there’s a whole ‘nother way to live.

      Love you.

  2. Anna Haney says:

    WOW!!! “IT HONORS GOD WHEN I LET GO OF MY PROBLEMS AND TAKE A BREAK.” Oh, Julie, how I needed to hear those words today. You know what all is going on with me and Sunday afternoon, got home from church and even though I had laundry calling me and I felt I should go see Momma and I needed to vacuum, etc., my husband and I spent quality time together in one another’s arms. Part of me did feel selfish for this, but part of me also knew that he and I both needed that time together. We drew strength from one another and the love we share and I had a better outlook. Most of what had been stressing me out were things over which I had no control. I had to give them up to God and not merely have faith that He’d handle it, but realize that there are instances in which we often have no other option.
    Thank you, dear friend.

    • Anna, just like reading Robin’s comment, yours is making me tear up/smile/grin, FEEL so much, because this little Truth makes no sense.

      But it works.

      And it’s opposite of what I grew up believing.

      I can’t tell you yow happy I am that to hear how you speak your Sunday afternoon. And I bet your husband is totally thrilled!!

      🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Beautiful Anna!! It’s what my husband and I turn to. If we’re not well, tired, or just need to rest after travel… we NEED to unplug like this. Even if work is calling, or people, or church obligations. If we don’t have one another, we have nothing.

  3. ROAD TRIP! LOL That’s my favorite thing to do to chill out. Any time, any length, anywhere. I’ve always loved a road trip. I guess that comes from wonderful family vacations as a kid. Everything was by car, so road trips evoke wonderful memories of a slower time. And they make me slow down. 🙂

    • I know, Ane. I’m laughing out loud now–wish you were here with me so we could laugh over how people like me can be so …. Tedious.

      A road trip! Yes!!!!!!! Now that does sound like fun. 🙂

  4. Thank you for your beautiful messages. I have been struggling with the stresses in my life. I have had to take a time out. I don’t like that I have to do that so often. But recently I read that God made me this way so I would keep depending on Him. God didn’t make a mistake when he made me!

    • Hey Nancy! I’m trying to remember if I’ve “met” you on my blog before….

      And thank you so much for letting me know this goofy little post meant something to you. I think it’s the kind of thing that either you totally understand, or you just shake your head and laugh.

      Love your words!!

  5. Susan says:

    Oh My Gosh! This has been my week. I have been worried about doctor appointments, scheduling issues, and on and on, to the point that my head hurt so badly I could not think. I decided to make a pumpkin pie, as it is starting to feel like Fall here in Wisconsin. I was at peace in my kitchen grateful that this year I was physically ABLE to be in the kitchen. I sat down while the pie was baking and had some tea and read a few devotionals. My day was better after I took a break and got myself in tune with God.

    • Susan, Susan, how I understand. And it even gave you a headache. It hits me in the shoulders. And I clench my jaws so much that they hurt.

      And you’re making a pumpkin pie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This makes my day!!!!! I can’t imagine how cool it must be in Wisconsin. Still sticky steamy in Georgia.

      I’m telling you–your precious words are ministering to my heart because I felt so unsure that anyone would understand this post. Which is not new for me. I always wonder the same thing.

      Thank you. God encouraged me through you. xoxoxoxo

  6. Kathryn Richardson says:

    I can relate. Sometimes I just decide to not do anything but read. It seems like it’s always the same ol’, same ol’! Just need to take a break and relax! Glad to see I’m not alone.

    • Hey Kathryn! And I’m so honored that you’d read my blog yesterday. 🙂 🙂

      I know–we’re not alone! I can’t believe it. I’m on the only one~~~~~

      Thank you, God. 🙂

  7. I have pictures of me making chocolate chip cookies on my blog post this week! 🙂

    Usually, I don’t have trouble with blog posts … but the last two … I’m down to the wire and asking God what He wants me to write. Down to the wire. Last week, I thought, well, maybe I just won’t write one. But, God delivered.

    On articles that I write … I have to put everything else out of my mind and totally pray and focus on that one topic. Forget the novel, forget it all … pray over that one thing. It comes.

    • Gotta go check it out, Shelli!!!!!

      I do the same thing with my blog posts. Except it’s every week. With my personality, I’d love to be able to write hundreds of them in advance and check them off my list. But that’s not how they come to me. It’s more like manna from heaven–like He doesn’t stir my heart in advance, and only one itty bitty idea. Sometimes it’ll be with a picture I’ve taken weeks ago just because I felt this gentle nudging to take a picture.

      What I was stuck on was a plotting issue with my novel.

      Yep. I do the same thing with writing articles.

      Thank you!!!!!

  8. Oh, I know what you mean! I get up every single day knowing there’s no way I can possibly get done everything that’s on the day’s To-Do list. And yet every single day I get up and expect myself to get it done…and then feel guilty when I don’t. Why do we do that to ourselves?

    Surrender is a good word, a worthy word, a word I need to obey. Thanks for the reminder!

    • Vonda, I’m telling you–the Surrender Word is kicking my tail. Everything seems to come back to that with me.

      Love you, my friend.

      Will be having lunch with writer friends today. Wish you could come!

  9. marci says:

    Yes! Sometimes Faith means taking a break.. It’s so easy to get ‘stuck’ in a problem. I’ve needed your reminder recently. – and surrender. The very time we feel we can’t stop and have fun, is the very time we need it most. Often that is when God gives us the answer. I’ve been pushing hard, and sometimes getting so caught up in a problem. Sometimes the problem is being pulled in a lot of different directions, and how nice to just stop and take a break before continuing. I have spend much time this month dealing with church things since the fire. Cleaning up things continues. It is one of those things that the end doesn’t seem to be in sight. — there is always something else to do. And now the job of inventory for the insurance, which I am trying to do. That has been a bit overwhelming. How to remember everything that was in the church from memory?
    Getting it all written down. I stuggle with the precept of “good enough’… When I am overwhelmed I need to remember that God can handle all things. I need to surrender and trust Him to help me through this. task. The Bible verse ” Come to me all who …are burdened and I will refresh you/ give you rest.” has been whispered in my mind.. I’m going to take a page from your writing, and take a break,, to not think of it. I like Ane suggestion of a road trip, though I wont be able to do that right now, I ‘ll give myself some fun time– a little mini vacation, even if it is a home-cation. Some time outside, some time reading – just for fun.

    It seems a lot of us needed this lesson today, …Faith means taking a break.
    Yes, it is so good to know that I/ we are not alone and so many of us struggle with the same things.
    As Kathryn (above) said,.. “Glad to see I’m not alone.”

    • Marci, you are one wise woman. I can feel it through your comments.

      And don’t listen to any more of those negative thoughts telling you you’re not good enough. Believe me. I understand. I’m just now finally taking baby steps into the Truth that we are clothed in His Righteousness, and because of Him we are Able, and we are More Than Conquerors. He is equipping us to do exactly what He’s calling us to do.

      A mini-vacay sounds wonderful! Reading is my favorite thing to do.

      I have a feeling we’d just love to hang out. 🙂

      Praying for you as He shines through your ministry to your precious church.

  10. Shelley Elaine says:

    Yes, Yes, Yes!!! Absolutely love this and so needed this reminder…I find getting outside with nature often centers me and helps me breathe more deeply…thanks Julie!

    • Shelley, I hope you got outside yesterday!! Me too. I love just walking down my driveway through the woods.

      So much love, my friend. And thank you for letting me know I’m not crazy (well, not all that crazy) and you understand.

  11. Julie Gilleand says:

    Thanks for sharing this Julie/leaf sister! I’m reminded of when I was a single parent to my oldest some Tim who was around 2 years old at the time (he’s 35 now!). I’d look around at my disaster of an apartment. Toys everywhere, food crumbs on the floor. Dishes stacked up and not even yet rinsed. Trash can about to explode it was so full. I thought of all of that looking at me and of what I had yet to do — besides take care of all that. There was bedtime prep and anyone who has kids knows what a long process that can often be. And I just felt like weeping. It was too much to take on. I felt so overwhelmed. Finally, I put Tim’s shoes and jacket on and strapped him into his car seat. Away we flew down the road to the mall. I actually hate going to the mall, but it was the only place I could think of to go. We strolled around and window shopped at some of the stores. I put a quarter in the machine so Tim could ride the merry-go-round in the mall’s play space. We bought a couple cookies and a drink and then went inside the pet store to see all the puppies and kittens, fish and birds. Tim was having a grand old time. I was just relieved to be out of the house and away from that mess! We were out past Tim’s bedtime but it didn’t matter. It’s what we needed to do and by the time we got back home, I was rested and refreshed and ready to face the music with renewed energy and motivation. It all seemed manageable then. Bedtime went quickly as Tim was SO tired out from our adventure and afterwards I tackled all the messes and fell into my bed later, exhausted but satisfied the work was done and marveling at what it had taken — stepping away and distracting myself from the problems long enough to go back in with a second wind. I think in school they call it recess!

    I love the break you took, strolling around your store, taking your time and noticing the people around you and then finding joy in making your lovely cheesecake. Just sounds so perfect!

    God bless 🙂

    • Leaf Sister, Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

      You knew 33 years ago what I’m just now discovering. And just think–even now, you still remember the beauty of that day despite all the chaos.

      This is such a powerful story. And you are a sensitive, deep-feeling writer. So much heart in everything you do.

      Thank you for taking time to read this and to respond. I’m hugging you from here–hope you can feel it.

      So much love!

      • Julie Gilleand says:

        I do feel it, thanks! And I may have learned it 33 years ago, but you know how that goes. Reminders are always needed!! And often! I thought of you this morning when we had the TV on this morning before we left for work and the old show from the 60’s: The Naked City, was on. A cop show. They were trying to solve a case and were getting so frustrated and stressed. One of them suggested they take a break for an hour and go back in fresh. They agreed and went their separate ways. Weren’t we just talking about that?! LoL. I love confirmations 🙂

  12. Patricia Martin says:

    I need to rest more!!!!!!(; for me resting is reading my Bible or playing with the cats. Thank you so much for the baking products that you mentioned, Julie.(: I am adjusting and would love any advice on Gluten Free cooking ( I am vegetarian so eating more veggies is a big part of my new diet). That cheesecake looks yummy and my family loves ginger snaps (((:. hope you all are enjoying Fall; it is hard to believe that tomorrow is September 11.
    Hugs from AZ,

    • Ohhhh, how sweet, Patricia–resting is reading the Bible and your kitties.

      Rest is the Bible. I just love that. I don’t think I’ve ever put it together in my mind like that. Rest = His Word.

      Gluten Free Cooking and you love veggies….one thing I’ve recently started doing is, I bought one of those Nutri-Bullets. Every morning I make us a smoothie. And you could use fruits and veggies. I always add GF yogurt too. And flax seeds.

      I bought a bread making machine when I was first diagnosed. I tried it for a while. Even though it’s probably healthier to make your own bread, I stopped. The flours are expensive, and one time bugs got in mine. 🙁 Now I buy Udi’s bread. It’s in the freezer of most grocery stores. They even have healthy kinds like “millet.” I keep it in the freezer and just toast it. You can let a couple of pieces thaw, but it’s really better toasted.

      Jiff peanut butter is GF. At first, it took me a couple of hours to go grocery shopping. I still call a lot of 1-800 numbers listed on the backs of foods before I buy them. A lot of things will say “GF” on the label. Sometimes it’s hidden in the ingredients and you wouldn’t know it. You have to watch “natural flavorings.”

      Oh, quinoa spaghetti noodles are really good! I can’t tell the difference. I usually buy Prego traditional spaghetti sauce. You can find good lasagna noodles. Also there are now incredible frozen pizzas! My fav is Against the Grain. Udis makes a good one too.

      Anytime you want to email me a question, please do.

      It does get easier. I promise. Oh, almost every night I make my own popcorn–the old-fashioned way. I buy a jar of just dry popcorn, and pop it on the stove in oil. No additives like you find in microwave popcorn.


      • Patricia Martin says:

        Thanks so much, Julie, for the great advice! Those all sound tasty and I am going to write them down.(: Have a blessed week!

        • You’re so welcome, Patricia! I made some amazing banana nut muffins yesterday with Pamela’s Pancake and Baking flour. You can find it in most grocery stores. There are lots of recipes on the back of the bag.

  13. You had me at “not so pretty pattern” 🙂 I’ve often wondered why I continue to fall back into my default pattern of handling life! I mean really, I’m 55 and I still am learning that I can’t do life all by myself? Why do I get caught up in the doing of everything instead of walking with Him, talking with Him, leaning on Him? I love that you took a break. I think that’s key- we have to break our pattern- walk away from the problem and surrender it over to Him. Love your illustration and I think I’m going to have to make some cheesecake- soon!

    • You and me both, Cindy. And taking a break was SO ….. odd sounding, to get up, go to the grocery store, and make a cheesecake. But I can’t tell you how it built my faith.

      Love you, my friend. Love seeing your family pics–feel like I know you.

  14. Ohhh Julie- that verse from Matthew! That is a gem for sure and I love how that provides such a clear guiding principle of how and why we should honor changes in exactly the way that you did. You walk your faith and then express it so beautifully, I am recharged each time I leave here. Thank you! Much love to you!

    • I know, Vicky. I’d never seen that verse until the day I was finishing up my blog. And you know how a certain Scripture can just jump right out at you. 🙂

      ooooooooooooooh, thank you. That’s my prayer–that my readers will leave feeling recharged by Him.

      Love you.

  15. Yup, I’ve struggled a lot with pushing too hard. Am learning the hard way sometimes to chill out and just let things be. Like on vacation this past week: going with the flow, not directing the events, not being in charge or bossy, and even going to bed at 8:22 at night when we were tired. Ahhhh, the wonders of letting go and letting God. Thanks for the reminder.

    • I love your response, B.J. So glad we’re friends. Your words always go straight to my heart.

      thank you.

  16. I love this post Julie. What a blessing to be able to stop and regain focus in this way.

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