If you wake me each morning with the sound of your loving voice, I’ll go to sleep each night trusting in you. Point out the road I must travel; I’m all ears, all eyes before you.
(Psalms 143:8 MSG)
The demands of life sometimes put us in a place where we can feel isolated or at least a distance away from God’s hand. In our intertwined work/personal life balancing act, the rush of inputs never stops and the furious pace at which we manage them can drain the life right out of us. That’s why Jesus modeled a life for us that included times of solitude and quiet. Times to get away from all of it and listen to God.
Let’s face it, if you are a pastor and reading this, you’ve been to that place where you are managing others’ lives better than your own. You know better but yet, you feel obligated to do it because you love people and you love the Lord. I do too and I’m blessed with a congregation that at times will tell me that I need to re-charge. In business, you manage many others’ projects and have to keep a strong communication line open to your superiors. What gets lost many times is your own soul as you balance the tension between your subordinates and your superiors. Then there’s the parental responsibilities (if you have kids) of managing your kids’ lives while at the same time giving them life skills to make the decisions themselves, sometimes leaving little time for yourself. If you have an aging parent or parents, then you’ve added another layer of responsibility to the mix.
Recently, I hit one of those cylces where I felt overwhelmed. In my early years (when I was in my 20’s), I could rush headlong into it thinking I could outwork it until my fuse hit the powderkeg underneath and I just blew up. Today, I understand the signs better. It still doesn’t make managing them any easier but I know when I need to hit the off button, thus my lack of blogging last week in the midst of turning some things off for a bit. I’ve written before about my dog, Buddy, and how he and I enjoy each other’s company in the early mornings when we are the only two awake. I believe God knows our needs even in selecting pets. Buddy is the perfect friend and I find in him a peace that God offers to me. When I take him for a morning walk, his only compulsion is to explore and find new things. He chases the squirrels, whimpers at other dogs, and excitedly follows the turning wheels of another car approaching as we make our way around the block. At times, he points his nose skyward, sniffing out a new scent and trying to make out it’s origin and purpose. It’s almost as if he looks heavenward and says, “What is this new thing God?” He delights when whatever it is he was seeking shows itself to him. Usually, as he goes through all of this motion, I’m quietly praying to God for direction and strength. As the Psalm above says, “Point out the road I must travel; I’m all ears, all eyes before you”. Much like my friend Buddy who’s all eyes and ears, I must find that place where I can excitedly find and explore new areas that God shows me. In the midst of managing task lists, personal items, kids, and the church, I sometimes miss the scents, the sights, and the sounds of what it is God is showing me. It is in those times, where God can strengthen me and give me courage for the coming journey. To miss those things because of my own mismanagement is to miss out on the power of the Holy Spirit working in my life.
I do my best to take rest in God regularly so I can continue in what it is he calls me to. I love God today more than I ever have. Sometimes though, I wonder if I please him when I neglect the times of solitude he requires of me? This is something I must get better in. I thank my dog for showing me a better way! God, take those times of quiet and use them to point out that road I MUST travel. Give me your light to guide me. Give me your courage to strengthen me. And give me your love so I can give it to others.
Have a great week!