Sometimes my job and my life are crazy and really stressful. Sometimes it feels like everybody wants a piece of me and I just want to run and hide. Now is one of those times.
For the last year I’ve been encouraging people who have come to our retreats – many of you – that we can’t just go to retreats to find peace. I’ve said that the point of coming to a retreat is building a relationship with God that can find its way into our daily lives and bring peace even when things don’t seem peaceful – the peace that passes all understanding” (Phillipians 4:7). I truly believe these words.
And…..I have to admit that in the last few weeks those words have been ringing in my ears. Frankly I’ve found the idea of finding peace in the midst of struggles very difficult. Many days I’ve sacrificed my time with the Lord to get a few more minutes of sleep or because I needed to get something finished that would help a client. I am longing for a retreat, but it’s just not going to happen right now.
Last week my dear spiritual director reminded me that Jesus knew, first-hand, the struggles we would face. Jesus went on retreat at the beginning of His ministry – forty days in the desert remember? Satan immediately wanted a piece of Him and then His ministry started. Day after day people were crowded around Him with high expectations and very serious needs. Others were constantly attacking him.
What did Jesus do to cope with all of this? Scripture doesn’t tell us He again went on retreat. It does tell us that He regularly – generally at night – drew away from others to spend time with the Father. He didn’t really have the time to do this, but He did it. This week I have made the time and it has made all the difference (funny the time was there all along, but my discipline was not).
Things are still stressful and God has not filled me with a serene feeling of calm detachment. However, this week my attention span is longer, the situations I’ve been dealing with seem to be moving along more smoothly, and I’m more content that I am doing all I can and that I need to let God do the rest. I’m not even sure I would have seen these differences if I wasn’t taking daily time with the Lord. Why do I have to keep learning that God’s Word is the instruction manual I have to follow for life here on earth to be livable?