Do you have a place where you go to get away from the pressure, stress, and chaos of life? A special place where you can sit quietly without interruption, allowing yourself to unwind and be alone with God? Can you sense an emotional siren pulsating through your body, alerting you to your need for a time out?
If this is you, don’t ignore the warning signs and your need to be alone with God as it can be hazardous to your health! Our spiritual being was created for communion with our Creator. The hunger of our soul is to be quenched by God who supplies every need. He provides our strength and hope as we push through this life.
It’s hard to admit that there were fourteen years, (yes fourteen!) where I spent too much time attempting to overcome all life had thrown at me in my own strength. It may sound pathetic and a little victimized, but I found myself wrestling to get through loss, pain, disappointment, and fear so I could finally say, “I made it, we made it!” I desperately wanted to be done with all of the stress I had put myself under to try and save my family. I wanted everyone fixed so we could all start living life how I had always envisioned it. I had convinced myself it was my fierce determination and hope for a better tomorrow that got me through each day. However, that was not it at all! My hope for better tomorrows and prayers for all that concerned me were right on, but my inability to release control and live life according to God’s way had become infectious to mind, body and spirit. My need to “fix” everybody and everything was hindering me from doing life God’s way, and it was His grace that brought me through and into each new day.
Somehow I believed my dreams would be the same dreams my family shared. Over the years the aspirations and expectations I envisioned for us had morphed into the goal behind every need to repair, save, cover up, and control. Take that mentality and mix it with additional chaos, stress, and people behaving badly and I found myself in not such a good place.
(Divorce, troubled teen, son leaving for college, loss of a loved one to cancer, moving to a new home, and starting a new job) All high on the stress bar!
It was in my reflection time God was able to show me how I had allowed the behaviors of others to rob me from trusting Him in all things and for all things. I had surrendered to pressure and not God.
As pressure builds we can find ourselves breaking down, and if we don’t allow ourselves time to get away to reflect and pray we may find ourselves reacting instead of responding in wisdom, peace, gentleness and a spirit of truth and love. I came to realize it was under this pressure I was losing my way.
Many times throughout the New Testament you will find Jesus leaving everyone and everything to get away alone to pray. He has left us with the perfect example of what to do when life becomes overwhelming and we need a break! Even if we’re praying throughout our day there are times when we will need to remove ourselves from all people and things so we can focus and listen to the still small voice inside warning, encouraging and instilling wisdom for the moment and days ahead. It is imperative to take ourselves to a place where we can connect with God and listen without interruption.
Because God is a faithful and loving God, He graciously brought me to the place where I could see the light and love of His ways. He brought me to the end of myself where I was surrendered enough to move deeper into his purposes and plans for my life. His plan was and is to save us all but we need to make the choice to let Him. In my choice to surrender the family I held so dear to my heart God gently showed me how to leave all that concerns me, all that I love and cherish at His feet for His purposes. After all, God has not made me the savior of my family. He already provided a Savior for us long ago!
We will find when taking time to be alone with God, we find freedom. The troubles invading our hearts, homes, families, careers, friendships, and every important part of our life become smaller and less frightening, and God becomes bigger. His power and grace will take over as we relinquish control and surrender.
Today if you find yourself struggling I pray the Scripture below will help comfort you as you make your way to the other side:
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
“But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.” Luke 5:16
“In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there.” Mark 1:35
“After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone.” Matthew 14:23
“Today if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” Hebrews 4:7b