I’m one of those people that think they are invincible when it comes to overloading myself with stuff; lots and lots of different stuff. And recently I’ve been trying to teach myself the art of lightening my load a little bit.
As well as being one of those ‘Try to do everything’ kind of people, I’m also quite an extrovert. So letting people down and missing events where there are people kills me a little bit inside (okay maybe that’s a slight overreaction, but it does make me very sad!)
So, the combination of being a very busy person, and wanting to attend every event where there is a human present, on top of a full time job, running a youth club on a Friday night, trying to find time to spend with my boyfriend, friends, family and squeeze in many, many wonderful church activities, means that I find myself getting pretty tired.
It is great to get involved in as much as possible, and I’m a firm believer in keeping yourself busy and not sitting around all day. But sometimes, you need to take a break, have a Saturday sitting and watching Netflix, or taking a few days out to spend a holiday with your family, and the most important thing, take a few minutes each day to spend with God.
I talked a little bit about my church ‘stuff’ earlier. There is so much that goes on at church that is just so exciting! Sometimes I do just want to get involved in all of it! I want to be a part of everything! Which is great, and I would encourage anyone to go for it in Church and get involved with what you can, because serving is amazing fulfilling and exciting. But sometimes I feel like I miss out the point of it all.
Recently I have been reminded that your relationship with God is not built on the stuff you do for him, but the time you spend with him. Your foundations come from the intimate times; the times when it’s just you and him. The times that you open your bible and a verse speaks directly to you. The times you lie on your bed listening to worship music, the times you go crazy in your journal and write a 15 page essay to him. The times you dance around your room like a crazy lunatic with him, or when you sit and scream into your pillow and ask him what the heck he is doing. The times you lie in bed before you go to sleep and say a prayer, or that time you sat and watched the sunset, just marvelling at his wonderful creation.
A lot of us think that the most important part of our walk with God is all the stuff we do, and everything at church we get involved in, but even Jesus took time to put aside all of that and spend time with his Dad. One of the verses I always come back to is in Luke, where Jesus is in the middle of his craziness, and the height of his ministry…
‘Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.’
When everything was getting a bit crazy, when people were talking about him everywhere, when most people at this point would make the most of it, or feel they should be constantly serving because the demand is so high… He ‘often’ took time out in the lonely places to pray.
Sometimes we just need to take some time out from all the things we are getting involved in, and focus on why we are doing all the stuff we are doing, and who we are doing it for. Even when we are at our busiest, and even when our diaries are completely full, we need to go ‘often’ to our lonely place to pray.
We need to find the time to cry on our beds, dance around the room, watch that sunset, or just sit, in the presence of Jesus. I write this blog after booking my flights to go join my family in France for four days, at one of my favourite, and one of the most peaceful places in my world. I am going to spend my week listening to worship songs and watching beautiful sunsets, and writing an awful lot in my journal.
There are many excuses I could have used to skip this holiday but I know that if Jesus needed His lonely places time with God, then I do too.