When deep inside your heart is raw, or broken, or full of fear or doubt….then the usual thing we do is get busy. If we are busy we can pretend not to hear God’s voice. We can tell ourselves, I’ll sit down in a while, then I can listen properly…but we never do.
It’s easier to tackle the dirtiest oven, or get swallowed up in running the kids here, there and everywhere. And there’s that thing that needs fixing, and I really need to do some exercise. Oh and look how many emails, FB messages and Twitter notifications there are to answer. We work full time and after all the other stuff, and don’t have time for anything else…or so we tell ourselves.
Well, I do anyway. And when I do sit down it’s to make myself a list of all the things I haven’t done and write out some plans to solve the problems I have, or others around me have…because I like solving people’s problems, I do.
I love Jesus. He saved me. He showed me the way I could be friends with God. All I had to do was believe in him and realise what he had done on the cross. I rejoice that he is alive, interceding for me in heaven. I know the Holy Spirit and have experienced his gentle, quiet voice and awesome power. God loves me. I am his child.
Those wild flowers in our garden are there for our sensory pleasure and for the bees. They just get on with doing their thing, all lifting up to the light. I like the fact that they are a bit untidy and a bit wild. They don’t fit in with the rest of the carefully tended garden. I would like to be a bit like that…just concentrating on my God given purpose.
But busyness tries to steal all that away from me. Instead of remembering that God is kind, gentle, healing and life giving… I think if I sit down with God, he’s just going to give me another list of things I need to sort out. And that makes me full of fear. You see, there’s so many problems in my head, things I want to see get better – from within my own family to the plight of those caught up in war, slavery and the evil of this world, that I would need to spend 10hours a day in prayer just to get through the all of it. I want to pray, I love prayer, but there’s so much to pray for right now. Don’t tell me to make lists and go through them systematically. I’ve tried that. I journal, I use the prayer mate app, and pray throughout my day. If someone asks me to pray for them, I do it there and then. Because I care and want to help.
Obviously I’m missing something. I need to get rid of my fear of what my Heavenly Father wants to say to me. How can I insult him to think he will add to my burdens? And then this came. In a rare moment I was listening to a Bible podcast the speaker read the Message version of a familiar passage….
““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.””
Matthew 11:28-30 MSG
For the real beginning of my sabbatical I wanted to do something grand and book an away day at a Chrisitan retreat centre, spend the day with someone who would pray things through with me and have a grand time just with me and my God. But busyness came and took my time and opportunity away. Work commitments are looming.
But I’m clawing a little back. Understanding that I don’t need to make excuses, that my Father, my Jesus and the Holy Spirit want to meet with me, strengthen and heal me and give me a lighter burden…has made me want to spend that time with him.
I can’t claw back a day…but I have arranged an afternoon walk just to a local park, with a friend who loves me and will pray with me, and together we will listen to our Lord. I’m still scared of stopping, everything might fall apart without me doing it….right?! (Not!) And maybe there are some deep things I need him to tell me, some healing to be be received and some changes I need to make. We shall see.