Over flowing closets, over-booked schedules, demanding relationships, to-do lists that seem to get longer instead of shorter, and a constant stream of email messages and paperwork clamor daily for my attention. *sigh* Sadly, for me, these trappings of life deplete my spirit…..rather I believe that I was created by God to live with simplicity and order.
I took a few moments today and imagined what it would be like to release my hold on all of the things I believe are “good” in order to embrace what God has said is “best.” I am coming to understand (ever to slowly) that living simply doesn’t require perfectionism … just a willingness to prioritize my highest ideals, and the courage to spend my time and resources intentionally.
Selah time, solitude, sabbatical…whatever you want to call it these words offer peace to my soul as they encourage me to step into the freedom of a de-cluttered life!
In his book, The Rest of God, Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath, Mark Buchanan states, “This is Sabbath’s golden rule, the one rule to which all other rules distill. Stop doing what you ought to do. There are six days to do what you ought. Six days to be caught in the web of economic and political and social necessity. And then one day to take wing.”
I am sensing that one of the key things the Holy Spirit is calling us into in this season is into a much deeper place of REST in Him – on all levels.
To many times I cram my life so full of activities that I can no longer tell the difference between what is really important and completely unnecessary. Why is it so difficult to do less in a day or to say no more often…why do so many of us feel anxious just at the thought of it?
I’ve heard it said that busyness is the drug of choice for most women. And like any drug, busyness is not only a let-down; it is a dangerous form of self deception. Busyness allows us to fool ourselves into feeling productive when in actuality we’re sabotaging our lives.
I am also discovering that the real problem is never lack of time but rather its lack of boundaries. I trust that as I detoxify from frenzied and harried activity it will be freeing beyond anything I expected. And I am expecting!!
In her book, Living the Christ-centered Life Between Walden and the Whirlwind , Jean Fleming observes, “We live in a noisy, busy world. Silence and solitude are not twentieth-century words. They fit the era of Victorian lace, high-button shoes, and kerosene lamps better than our age of television, video arcades, and joggers wired with earphones. We have become a people with an aversion to quiet and uneasiness with being “alone” therefore be careful not to let the world prejudice you against the Biblical witness on these matters. “He who has ears to hear, let him hear” (Matthew 11:15).
How many of us realize we have an addiction to noise. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t turn on the TV or radio to listen to while working around the house or doing other chores, but it’s another thing to habitually turn one of these on immediately upon entering a room just to have sound.
Or maybe even worse is how often we feel that it’s necessary to have background noise during devotions or prayer.
I read a quote one day that said: “I believe the convenience of sound has contributed to the spiritual shallowness of contemporary western Christianity. The advent of affordable, portable sound systems, for instance, has been a mixed blessing. The negative side is that now we don’t have to go anywhere without human voices. As a result we are less frequently alone with our own thoughts and God’s voice. Because of this, and because we are the most urban, noise-polluted generation ever, we have an unprecedented need to learn the Disciplines of silence and solitude.”
With so much technology bombarding me at every turn I can easily become exhausted by this intrusion….which results in overstimulation of my body, mind and emotions. All this convenience wears me out!!
The great missionary Jim Elliott said, “I think the devil has made it his business to monopolize on three elements: noise, hurry, crowds…Satan is quite aware of the power of silence.” Unless we plan for times of solitude-wherever they may be found – our lives will become one big ineffective cycle of stress and spiritual shallowness.”
I have decided to take a sabbatical or more specifically a detox from busyness. A 40 day sabbatical from technology, from unhealthy habits and the hurriedness of life. The intrusion of technology into every nook and cranny of my life makes it necessary for me to be very intentional regarding its use…..and becoming intentional about taking a journey where I set aside more time for solitude, silence and Sabbath.
I think another reason why I get so tired is that all too often I am always working so hard to figure things out rather than learning how to cease striving…..Ruth Haley Barton in her book, Sacred Rhythems writes: how to be with what is true in God’s presence and let God be God in the most intimate places of my life-which is, in the end, the only thing that will change anything. I get too busy trying to make stuff happen rather than waiting on God to make stuff happen.
In times past when I have taken shorter sabbaticals I found that one of the things solitude did for me is to help me to become physically and spiritually replenished….I need that again.
I don’t think I am alone in this, I think we all have a need for refueling both inwardly and outwardly. And solitude can do that for us. Jesus told His disciples, “Come away by yourselves to a lonely place and rest a while” (Mk. 6:31) after a full schedule of ministry output. They needed to be refreshed and Jesus knew that solitude was the remedy.
If life is a banquet then a sabbatical is a cool drink of water. My desire is that the next 40 days will be a journey to feed my spirit and nourish my body with the renewing of my mind and to replace habits with new, healthier ones in order to honor my body.
I pray that each day my desire is to listen for God to direct my activities…and not my own list of what I think is important. And so for the next 40 days I most likely won’t be writing here…but I will check in from time to time to connect if you have left a comment and I will also check my email from time to time if you want to reach me…otherwise, see you in 40 days!!!