A few years ago, my husband and I realized we had to take a few days off of work. Both of us. At the same time.
This probably doesn’t sound exciting, but to us this was revolutionary.
We didn’t go away. We didn’t take vacations. We didn’t take time off other than for dental appointments or to have a baby.
But since a vacation away wasn’t in the budget, we decided to try the wonderful trend of stay-cationing.
We know plenty of friends who staycation successfully. They have a fabulous time visiting all the places within an hour of home that no one local ever takes the time to visit.
We, however, had a whopping failure of a week. By Friday, we had both ended up working. We had answered the phone and ended up in ministry meetings. We still went to all the normal activities at church and in the community. We did all the normal chores with all the normal responsibilities and hadn’t even slept in because we had young kids and they don’t know how to do that.
We need to get away, really away. We need to retreat, to shake off the daily and reconnect with each other and with beauty and rest and with the eternal.
Oswald Chambers wrote:
“Whenever anything begins to disintegrate your life with Jesus Christ, turn to Him at once, asking Him to re-establish your rest.”
It’s all of the daily life choices and battles that chip away at our faith. We’re distracted. We’re annoyed. We’re confused. We’re tired.
Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Over time, I feel it, the weariness, the burdens. They accumulate over days and months.
Daily quiet times help. I temporarily rest at His feet and toss the bundles I’m carrying to the side. But, I leap up from the table after time in the Word and it’s back to phone calls and emails, carpooling, activities, planning and laundry.
And the thing about daily life is that it is . . . daily.
Shocking revelation, I know. But it’s not just the motion that tires me over time; it’s the perpetual motion.
It’s rising every morning to empty the dishwasher and reload it . . . . again.
Making beds, packing lunches, toasting bread and pouring milk . . . again.
Tossing clothes into the washer and grabbing towels out of the dryer . . . again.
Cleaning dried-on toothpaste off the bathroom walls . . . again.
Eventually I need more than a temporary refresher. I need to retreat from it all to re-establish rest. In Mark 6:31, it says,
Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
The thing about being bogged down in the daily is that our definition of crisis begins to distort.
In the past few months, I’ve lain awake for hours in the middle of the night over minor worries that have turned into a crisis of anxiety.
Patsy Clairmont wrote, “At times, trusting God in the minutiae of life is as difficult as trusting him for a walking-on-water miracle.”
I’m tossing and turning at night because I’ve gripped my hand around each of these issues so tight God can’t pry my fingers off with a crowbar. My knuckles are white.
So I am removing myself from this close-up perspective of my life where the tiniest anomaly blips onto my radar as if it’s the end of the world. I’m putting aside the to-do list that runs my life like a drill sergeant. For this week, I’ll stop staring at my life and lift my head up instead to see Jesus.
In Psalm 3, David wrote, “But you, O Lord, are a shield for me; My glory and the one who lifts up my head.”
Instead of going through life shoulders hunched, head down, eyes staring at circumstances, I’m asking that God lift up my head so I can see His face, see His eyes of love and grace, see the reminder in the palm of His hands that He’s going to do everything imaginable and more to take care of me.
In that same Psalm, David also wrote: “Salvation belongs to the Lord” (verse 8). This “salvation” means “deliverance from the immediate pressure” he was feeling.
One of the meanings of this Hebrew word for salvation is “room to breathe.”
Sometimes the daily grind is suffocating and busyness knocks the wind out of me. I need deliverance from the immediate pressures that monopolize my attention and salvation from the stresses that take my breath away.
I’m leaving so I can find room to breathe.
To read more about this 12-month journey of pursuing the presence of Christ, you can follow the links below! Won’t you join me this month as I ‘Retreat and Refresh?
- Finding Room to Breathe: A 12-month pursuit of the presence of Christ
- January: Be Still and Know
- February: Pray Simply
- March: Unplug
- April: Enjoy Beauty
- May: Create Beauty
- June: Invest in Friendship
- July: Retreat and Refresh
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now! To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2014 Heather King