The value of both work and play – and why God told me to get back to work

We all love a good vacation, right? A staycation is perfect as well. Basically, anytime we can break from work and enjoy rest is good for the soul.

The boys and I have been on an extended break through the holidays, and I’ve found myself struggling through it a bit. So much so, I felt I was living in a bit of a funk I couldn’t seem to pull out of. It began as a dull feeling, like the winter blues, yet the weather has been lovely so I couldn’t blame it on the weather. I lacked desire and motivation to do anything productive or fun.

On Christmas Day we took the boys to the movies as part of their Christmas gift. They watched Star Wars while I enjoyed Little Women. I shared about this on Instagram so I won’t digress here. The movie inspired me to begin reading this childhood favorite again.


I’ve basically existed with my nose in some book or another over my Christmas break. Normally, this is something my soul needs. But in this current state of funk I found myself in, even reading didn’t do the trick. I fell asleep praying for God to give me insight into this foggy feeling and to give me healthy motivation and drive to do the things He’s called me to do.

The following morning I woke and began my quiet time with God. Again I prayed about this lack of desire and motivation. I even wrote out my prayer in my journal. After my quiet time, I still lacked motivation to get after the day, so I opened Little Women and got back to reading while the rest of my family slept. And I met God in the pages of Little Women. He brought me the answer I asked Him to bring.

Mrs. March played a little experiment with the March girls in order to teach them a valuable lesson about the importance of everyone working their fair share. In this little experiment, she leaves for the day, and the girls carry the full load themselves. When they all gathered together again, Mrs. March lovingly shares her words of wisdom with them.

“Work is wholesome, and there is plenty for every one; it keeps us from ennui and mischief; is good for health and spirits, and gives us a sense of power and independence better than money and fashion.”

The girls respond that they’ll “work like bees” and never fuss again over their proper duties. Again Mrs. March offers wise counsel.

“Very good! Then I am quite satisfied with the experiment, and fancy that we shall not have to repeat it; only don’t go to the other extreme, and delve like slaves. Have regular hours for work and play; make each day both useful and pleasant, and prove that you understand the worth of time by employing it well. Then youth will be delightful, old age will bring few regrets, and life become a beautiful success, in spite of poverty.”

I underlined and marked the pages, closed the book, and smiled at God. He truly does meet us wherever we are. He didn’t answer me as I sat quietly reading my Bible and praying. He listened to my plea, then He met me where I went next, in the pages of Little Women.

I looked up the word ennui. It’s French and pronounced ahn-wee. “A feeling of utter weariness and discontent resulting from satiety or lack of interest; boredom.”

Yes, I suffered from ennui! Too much resting, too little purpose to my days, left me feeling restless, discontent, lacking motivation or drive, and downright bored. I needed to get back to work.

Then I paused again. Suddenly I had a wave of compassion wash over me as I thought how many people find themselves in this situation yet never connect the dots of the feeling of discontent and boredom with the state of living with too little work. I’m not saying this is always the case. But if I continued in my too much rest, too little work, my funk would only get deeper. How many people find themselves here without realizing it’s the lack of proper balance that is missing?

Today is supposed to be vacation still, but I knew what my soul needed. It needed purpose-driven work. It needed structure and a plan. And so I did get back to work. The funk lifted, my soul felt lighter, the world looked brighter, and I texted my husband with this message, “I’m back 🙂 ”