Hi everyone. Rob here.
Sometimes your body tells you what your heart needs. I got sick last week and, out of necessity, missed church and a leadership meeting. Watching golf instead of singing hymns on a Sunday morning felt a bit surreal but my heart needed the break. A busy period of funerals and talks was flowing into another busy period of Easter preparation and services, as well as school board meetings and normal family life. All of that is fine if the heart is looked after, and I needed some extra help on that front. God helped me to put my sickness to good use. I got good rest. I enjoyed books and sport and my heart loves that. I let God love me. But it raises the question; how do we take care of our hearts when life just doesn’t stop?
Sometimes you just can’t do less. Jobs have busy seasons as does family life, especially when the kids are young. There are social events that you want to be at to honour the people involved. Church activities hopefully have real value. Busyness is OK as long as the heart is not left behind. But we so often do leave it behind. We rush from one thing to another, giving here and giving there, and end up wondering why it all went by in such a blur. Here’s what I know. In order to be truly present in the moments of our lives we need to be truly present before God. We need to take time to pre-sent ourselves to him so we can pre-sent ourselves to others bearing his love and light. It’s worth remembering Jesus’ words in Matthew 11:28-30 (Message translation):
Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.
Jesus was a very busy man in the last few years of his life. God had given him a great mission and there was an urgency to Jesus’ words and actions, especially in the second half of the gospels. But he was able to sustain himself by presenting himself to the Father regularly. He would walk alone at night when all was quiet. He would take the disciples away to isolated places. He stayed with good friends. He received every moment as an invitation to do God’s will and further the kingdom. He didn’t need the crowds or activity for affirmation. He had all the affirmation he needed from his Father.
So for us the lesson is to follow Jesus. Be conscious that we walk with him through the day. Follow his rhythm of regular time-outs to present ourselves to God and allow our identity as beloved children of the Father to fill our minds and hearts. Sometimes that is just taking a minute to breathe in the name of Jesus and breathe out our anxious thoughts. Sometimes it’s taking a minute to simply sit still and silently before a meeting. Sometimes it’s choosing to be aware of your surroundings and noticing colours, smells and noises. Sometimes it’s allowing a favourite scripture or song lyric to recalibrate your thinking. Sometimes it’s a prayer of consecration before a difficult conversation or choosing to love another person and sincerely appreciating them. We may only have a moment but if those moments are given over to God then they become infused with divine power.
I have discovered that on my busiest days I need to deliberately slow down to let God’s Spirit fill that day. I have to choose not to think ahead, to not be anxious about parking, to worry less about time, to let go of all the things still undone and simply be present. I always have more time than I realized when my time is given into God’s hands.
Grace and peace everyone.