As February was coming to an end and we were just learning about a new virus called COVID 19, I received my pre-ordered copy of John Eldredge’s newest release, Get Your Life Back. I know John could not have known the significance of the timing of the book’s release and how the world would change so much within days and weeks.
The focus of the book is looking at how the “blistering pace of life” has affected each and every one of us, robbing us of “things that nourish us.”
“Most of the day we simply plow through a myriad of diverse tasks, checking boxes, “getting stuff done.” It frazzles the soul, so we look to all our “comforters” to calm down.”
Thinking about life before the pandemic may have been much more like this than we might have even realized. The busyness of life seems to creep into our calendars gradually until we recognize we are drowning in too many things that do not nourish our hearts and leave us parched and thirsty for more.
John reminds us:
“The desert fathers of the third and fourth century were a courageous, ragtag group, followers of Jesus who fled the madness of their world to seek a life of beauty and simplicity with God in the silent desert.”
John also reminds the reader that even when we vow to change things and cut back our schedules, too many times we never really get there or when we do, we fail to replace the busyness to gain the soul nourishment we need. He also asks the reader to look at the life of Jesus and what He modeled for us in his short years of ministry on the earth.
“Jesus models a freedom of heart I think every one of us would love to have. His ability to disengage himself from his world is so alluring.”
Reading the Gospels helps us see how Jesus often went away from the crowds and sometimes the disciples as well for prayer, rest, and nourishment.
John Eldredge points us to how Augustine looked at this:
“And so Augustine said we must empty ourselves of all that fills us so that we may be filled with what we are empty of.”
The pandemic has shut us off from much of the busyness, but have we truly used the time to nourish our hearts and souls and will we reevaluate what we put back in and what we leave behind as it ends?
Get Your Life Back would challenge us to do both. It is not enough to cease being busy or being busy trying to do life differently. We have forgotten what generations before us enjoyed and how it fed their hearts and souls.
“Back in the day if you wanted to have a conversation with someone, if you wanted to enter their world, you literally had to enter their world. You got in your car and drove to their farm and sat on their porch and had a conversation. You also understood that there are appropriate hours for doing so. People were very aware that there were public moments and private moments, public spaces and private spaces.”
Life is not like that now and hasn’t been so for much of the world for some years, but now more than ever we might be aware of how such times would have blessed all who did experience them. And we may not be able to replicate them during this time (even though some of us might actually connect with neighbors more at a safe distance), but as we look to the days of returning to more usual activities now might be the best time to consider what we want to take from this time of isolation (the pluses of alone time and minuses of it as well) and how we decide to “get our life back” in deeper ways.
This new book of John Eldredge’s is a treasure trove of thought-provoking challenges to consider.
Waiting for the vacation or the weekend will not sustain our hearts and souls.
“Life is built on the dailies.
Love, friendship, and marriage are nurtured in the context of simple things like coffee together, hanging out, getting a burrito, holding hands, taking a walk, doing the dishes, reading to one another, or just reading different things while you’re together in the same room. It’s the little things that build a beautiful life.”
John Eldredge in Get Your Life Back