"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
Listen. Can you hear it? That's your life passing you by.
That's pretty much what I thought to myself during a recent week of vacation when I actually took the time to stop, unplug and smell the roses.
It was truly a gift to rest both physically and spiritually. I had a very loose agenda. I let my laundry pile up. I skipped a day or two of working out. I enjoyed time with family and friends who I haven't seen in months. And I people watched at the mall. Good times.
I also didn't worry about my future. I didn't compare myself with others and what God was doing in their lives (and not in mine). And I didn't fill up my time feeling pressured to read the "it" Christian book of the moment or listen to any online sermons that could "change my life" (not that any of that is bad). But I just relished in listening and sitting quietly and waiting for what the Lord wanted to say directly to me during this week of rest.
In hindsight, it was one of the best vacations I've had in my life. Now that I'm back in full swing, though, I look back on that week and wish I could incorporate it into my "normal" life. And with a little creative planning, I think I can. Here's what I can do:
• Turn off the phone. Shut down the e-mail. Quit wasting time on social networking sites. My communication devices are not the boss of me. Yes, people are important. But I can return messages and correspond with them tomorrow.
• Schedule a "night off" or "personal time" in my calendar. I tried doing this last year, but I didn't always respect that time that I had blocked out for just sitting on the sofa or reading a book or playing with my cats. I intend to be better at making time to "just be" in this new year.
• Make my quiet time a priority. In my world, I fit in things when and where I can. I have a schedule, but it's a little more flexible than it should be for some of my priorities—including my time spent with the Lord. I should treat this time like I would anything else that's sacred or precious to me and that captures my undivided attention (Um, the Superbowl or upcoming Oscars? Anyone?).
• Eliminate whatever is making me anxious or making me feel bad about myself or is not good for my spirit. And by that I mean reading material, television shows or any other type of information or entertainment that is not edifying. We each have our own standards of what we are or are not comfortable with taking in. But why am I living by someone else's? If something is not good for me and the Holy Spirit tells me so, then I need to stand firm and just say "no."
• Rejoin a Bible study group. Ironically, I took off last semester from Bible study because I was too "busy." And now I'm feeling the effects of not having been a part of this important source of fellowship and spiritual formation in my life. Next month, however, I'll be back in action with my group, and I can't wait to see what God is going to do.
So, like me, have you been feeling weary, too? Are you stuck in patterns or "priorities" that are weighing you down? Are there changes you need to make in your life? Take a hard look at what you need to do so that you can enter into the Father's rest, not tomorrow but today.
Intersecting Faith & Life:
We live in a world of "the tyranny of the urgent," and each of us must determine who or what is in charge of our lives. Sit down with your calendar today. See what's there. And then ask the Lord to help you take it one day at a time, as you focus on what he wants for you to do—or not to do—in the days to come.