There is a difference between getting away and running away.
I love to “get away” for a little while. My love language is an afternoon at a coffee shop with praise music and my laptop. Most of the time after 3 hours reading, praying, and writing I feel refreshed and ready to face another week of real life. But there are times when that refreshment I feel only lasts the 20 minutes it takes me to get back home. As soon as I walk in the door I am mom and wife and everything else again. Lately I have just wanted more time, just more time away, more time to refresh, more time to refill my soul. I have struggled with guilt that I should cherish time with my family. I should be thankful for the ministry opportunities God has given me. I should be able to manage my time better to fit refreshment into my day without having to go away to get it. I do cherish my family, I am thankful for opportunities, I do “fit some God time” into my everyday life. But what about when that ache in my soul still says “I’m tired”. What about when at the end of my 3 hours away I’m not ready to go back home yet.
If I am going to get so honest about how I feel lately, I need to get honest with what God is speaking to me about lately as well.
In my quest for more time away, more time to refresh, I have become extremely self-focused. Ouch. I recently heard, “Where you stare you will steer”. I have been staring at myself lately. I have been staring at my lack of free time, my desires, my problems. Because my focus has been on my lack, my soul has ached for what I don’t have.
I’m not saying a time of refreshment is bad or that taking time out is selfish. This is what I am saying – If I focus on myself during that time of refreshment, I will walk out feeling exactly as I felt when I entered it. When I get away simply to forget my problems for a little while- I am running away.
If I focus on God and His Strength, His agenda, His plan – I will walk out refreshed and ready to face the world. I am no longer running away from the situation, I am getting away to get better perspective and a renewed energy to face what is ahead.
This weekend I heard someone speak on “What do you do when you don’t know what to do?” The basic answer she gave- Love God. Love People. Well, 2014, you have clearly spoken again. My goal I made to love people more this year just keeps coming back to me. It seems each time it comes up there is a different area that I am challenged in. This time I realize, I don’t have the time or energy to love people like I want to. There I said it, loving people is something I just can’t do in my own strength.
If I want to really love people as 1 Peter 4:8 says, [Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.] I have to first focus on God. It’s not about loving myself before I can love others, it’s about loving God and the things He loves.
Today I am at the end of 4 days away from my husband and beautiful children. I finally got my time away to refresh and rest my weary soul. It was needed time and I highly recommend everyone take some regular time away. But don’t just take the time to run away from “real life”. Take the time to refocus your life on the One who life is really all about. In a few hours when Brian picks me up, I’m sure it won’t take long for my focus to quickly shift back to myself. This battle to focus on Christ is a daily one. Thankfully, it is also one that is wrapped in His grace.
Thank you God for not demanding perfection out of me. Help me to daily remember to love You and love others.