“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, The Message)
Ever feel like a hot mess?
How often do you feel like you get to the end of the day and not only is your “to do” list not completed, but its actually longer than when you started the day?
When was the last time you missed a deadline?
How long has it been since you’ve had a solid 8-hours of sleep for a whole week?
When someone asks you how you’re doing, do you respond with “busy!” more often than not?
How many unanswered emails, voice mails, text messages, social media messages, or pieces of snail mail do you have?
Have you ever been tempted to ditch a commitment because you’re just so overwhelmed and exhausted?
How often do you get headaches, feel the weight of the world on your shoulders, or like a thousand pound gorilla is sitting on your chest?
I tend to live life very full, intense, and passionate, which then can look like I’ve got way too much to do for one human. Stress emerges. Impatience surges. My temper flares. I’m scattered and frustrated with everyone, when really I’m the only one to blame. I’m tired and worn out because of my own decisions.
For a decade I went to this place to recover my life. The first Monday of every month I sat on a bench overlooking the ocean to get away with Jesus and learn the unforced rhythms of grace. It didn’t come natural. It actually felt forced in the beginning. It never came at a good time, but I did it. Then, I became a parent and slowly but surely I let go of this monthly rhythm. I created a litany of excuses why I couldn’t take a day to be alone with God. So, for a few years I abandoned the one practice that kept me rooted, grounded, healing, and anchored in the chaos of life.
Last fall I read Invitation to Retreat (Ruth Haley Barton) and was wooed back to this monthly rhythm of silence and solitude. In many ways, my life has never been more full. I don’t have time for this. But I can’t afford not tending to my soul well. Since October, I’ve re-instituted strategic withdrawal on the first Monday of the month. Once again, I am getting away to lonely places where I can withdraw for good reasons so I can fight what’s necessary the rest of the month. It’s intentional and strategic.
If you find yourself eager yet resistant to this kind of rhythm, perhaps these words will weight you into the truth about the cure for too-much-to-do. It’s been the best thing I’ve done for myself in a while.
Friend, strategically withdraw from your life so you can recover it and live freely and lightly. Let’s be the kind of people who live in the unforced rhythms of grace. You are safe and you are loved. (Yes, yesterday I strategically withdrew and took a real rest with Jesus. It was good for my soul. Can’ t wait for March.)