down time

Most people’s idea of effective “down time” includes a lazy day by the pool, indulging in artisan food and drinks, binging on Netflix and spending entire days shopping or playing golf. But during Jesus’ earthly ministry, He had a very different solution for finding the refreshment and refueling He needed. Yes, Jesus did take “time away” periodically from the demands of the crowds and the intensity of ministry. But He didn’t need to lounge by the ocean or turn to worldly entertainment to find the rest and new strength He needed. Rather, the Bible describes many different occasions when Jesus resorted to a mountain alone to pray, or rose up early in the morning to spend time in God’s presence.

“Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray.” Mark 1:35 NLT

“After telling everyone good-bye, he went up into the hills by himself to pray.” Mark 6:46 NLT

Jesus carried more weight on His shoulders than any of us can even imagine. Yet He knew that the only way to gain strength for the battles He was called to fight was to spend time alone with God in prayer.

Whenever I’m in need of rest, perspective, and new strength, I’m learning to look to the example of Christ, instead of the example of the world, to gain the refueling I seek. Certainly there is nothing wrong with doing practical things in order to refuel and recharge. A long walk, a refreshing bike ride, an hour journaling outside in God’s creation, an encouraging chat with a trusted friend, or meaningful family vacation can be wonderful ways to gain clearer perspective. But it’s important not to give into the voice that whispers, you should deserve some self-indulgence right now. Give into the cravings of your flesh, just for a little while. Take time for YOU!

Taking time away to refresh and refuel should flow from a motive of becoming even stronger and more equipped to serve Jesus Christ – not simply to “escape” from the responsibilities of serving and godly living.

Over the past few months, I have found that the best “me time” is actually not “me time” at all, but “God time.” Prayer, journaling, worship, and listening to Christian podcast for lasting refreshment to my soul. When I say “no” to personal indulgences in order to say “yes” to time in the presence of God, I find I’m not missing out on anything. In fact, I find all of the lasting joy, peace, and strength I need in Him. Psalm 16:11 says “You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.”

May we allow that reality to be proven true in our lives, instead of turning to the empty allurements of the world. Time alone with our God is truest source of refueling our souls can ever find.

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