It’s that time of year where the calendar gets filled up with more things to do, places to be, and things to remember. Between now and the end of the calendar year it seems we try to connect with everyone we care about and handle the crammed season with hospitality despite how busy it can be.
We may decide we want to keep it simpler and recall promises we made last year about that very thing, but somehow there is a creep that starts to wind us up almost without our notice. Then we feel stuck! We have once again committed to too many things with too many people and our energy, time, and budget feels stretched to the max once again.
We probably have read, watched and heard more about time management and self-care than we can even recall. Yet somehow, we keep repeating a pattern of busyness that can slip up on us.
Maybe it relates to the cultural mindset that says (or at least implies) that we can do everything without consequences to our physical, emotional, mental, relational, spiritual, and financial health. Since the culture is permeated with the mindset of “doing”, it can be hard to let go no matter what age or season of life we find ourselves in.
We don’t want to retreat from life and live like a hermit nor live life like a gerbil caught up in one of those little wheels that keep spinning around.
Believers are as guilty as anyone and sometimes more so during the last few months of the year when our desire to bless, serve, and reach out is appealed to from every quadrant.
I was reminded while reading in Mark 1 in the Bible today of the model evident in the story about Jesus healing Peter’s mother-in-law. It appears Jesus is spending time with Peter and his disciples in more of an intimate setting when Peter asks Him to help his mother-in-law who is ill with a high fever. Jesus responds in this private setting among friends and the woman is restored. No public fanfare accompanies this event.
But in the evening when the Sabbath has ended, people come knocking on Peter’s door because they have seen and heard about the miracles Jesus had done in other settings. They want the help He can offer even though they may not know nor care that He is the Messiah. And Jesus appears to respond to the many who come to Him.
That’s the kind of day that could be exhausting. We can forget in the midst of looking at the divine nature of Jesus that He was living in time and space in a human body now. As such He needed rest and time away from the many who sought Him out for what He could give them.
It’s impossible to miss what happens after this long evening of ministering. Jesus slips out of the house before dawn to be alone, to pray, to take in and replenish from God. He was clear about what we know and yet don’t always discipline ourselves to do – take time alone in a quiet place to hear the Lord’s voice.
The Lord can and does speak to us in a myriad of ways, but it is in quiet places alone where we tend to hear Him best and receive a rest and refreshment that goes beyond physical rest.
What’s the model we forget?
Jesus understood when it was time to work, minister to others, and serve, but He also knew when it was time to rest and be alone.
John 5:19 points to some of the “why” of that:
“So Jesus said, “I speak to you timeless truth. The Son is not able to do anything from himself or through my own initiative. I only do the works that I see the Father doing, for the Son does the same works as his Father.”
John 5:19 (TPT)
Jesus knew his daily schedule was to follow the pattern his Father had for Him. Getting in touch with Him at the outset allowed Him to accomplish all in God’s design and plan and that included time for fellowship in intimate settings with friends and time alone.
Medical science proves God designed our complex bodily systems with a need for rest as well as exercise and when we don’t allow time for it, our bodies, minds, and spirits get overwhelmed and don’t work as well. If we don’t pay attention more permanent effects develop. And how can He use us then?
“God never hurries. There are no deadlines against which he must work. Only to know this is to quiet our spirits and relax our nerves.”