I enjoy watching Bible teacher Beth Moore on James and Betty Robinson's show, "Life Today" on Wednesday's. The past few weeks her theme of her message has been, "Refuge in the Storm". I just recently saw session number 4, where Beth was speaking about having a hiding place. A "Time Out". A "Hiding Place" so that we may have time away from all of the chaos and trouble that surrounds our lives. Even time away from our loved ones.
This has really been tugging at my mind the last few days. I know that I need a place to hide sometimes. When I have been pulled in so many directions or I have tried to be there for so many people that I forget to take time for myself. I work in a church and am currently answering the call to ministry, but there are days I feel like I have not connected with God. I get so busy that I'm not even sure that I have felt God's presence in my life that day.
God gave us a day of rest. Even Jesus went to the garden to be alone with his Father. Why do we find it so hard to have a "Time Out". We tend to feel that if we don't get the work done, no one will do it. Or they won't do it the "right" way. Why do we do this to ourselves? Is it really crucial that every bit of our work gets done? Will our lives fall a part if the house doesn't get cleaned, the laundry waits one more day? When a project is due at work, why do we rush to get it done before it is even due? Are we afraid that people are going to frown at us? That our family will get mad at us? That we won't "look good" to everyone?
We get so wrapped up in the little things that we forget the One who created us, gave us life. We go through our days lifting prayers for others, asking God to help us but we don't give God the quality time that we need to help us be able to help others. Beth said, "How can I give a drink of water, when I need a drink of living water?" "How can I be a refuge for someone else, when I am in need of refuge?"
That is so true. How can I give someone the time and energy to help them, if I am in need of energy myself? How do you know when you need a "time out"? Beth says, "If you don't enjoy what you are doing anymore, you need a time out".
In the September/October "final" issue of Today's Christian Woman, there is an article by Sandra Byrd titled, "eat, pray, grow". Sandra writes about how God used something unusual to get her attention about her soul: food.
She talks about how she found out she had high blood pressure and high cholesterol at the age of 40 and decided to change her life style. While she was cutting up veggies one day she heard the Holy Spirit murmur, "It takes time and commitment to be healthy, doesn't it?" She knew he wasn't talking about her body. He was talking about her soul. She goes on to say that it is easier to ignore the spiritual issues, God often uses physical symptoms to help take a closer look at what's happening inside.
Developing a pattern of taking on too much and in order to comfort her overly busy self, she ate the wrong things. She finally understood that her overfed but malnourished body was an outward reflection of an overfed but malnourished soul. While she had many activities that looked good on the outside and garnered praise, they ate up time she might have spent deepening her relationship with God. She relegated her prayer life to rushed pleading in the midst of trouble; her relationship with God felt empty and silent, stagnant and struggling. Her body displayed on the outside what was happening on the inside. In the process of healing one, could she heal both?
She goes on to give you valuable information that she learned through going through this process. It is a great article that I suggest you read.
I had a great conversation today with a dear friend on this very subject. She was telling me that her heart just isn't in to going to the Wednesday morning Bible study at our church but she feels guilty if she doesn't go. I told her that if she was feeling that way she shouldn't go. She does her own Bible study every morning, she leads a Bible study at an assisted living home once a week and she meets once a month for a Christian Women's Bible study. I think a lot of us do this. We join every Bible study possible thinking that it will lead us closer to God, but it actually takes us away from those quiet one on one moments that we need with God.
Just like we need to nourish our bodies with good wholesome food and fit in exercise each day, we also need to give our souls a "time out" to be alone with God. Not doing a Bible study, but just one on one, no frills, time with God.
So the next time you are feeling the loss of joy in what you are doing or you are overwhelmed with life, give yourself a "time out". For a child they say that when you give them time out, they are to sit in time out for as many minutes as they are old. So, if you are 30, take 30 minutes, 40, take 40 minutes, 50, take 50 minutes. Take the time to sit in the presence of God and enjoy!!!