Friday, September 5, 2008

I Need A Break!

For me personally, I know that the time I spend alone and time I devote to the Lord, prepares me for the time I spend with others. In the past, I would put off spending time alone and felt if I stole a few minutes away from responsibilities, it was a ‘guilty pleasure’ or something I could afford to do once ‘everything was done’ or I was ‘caught up’ (which is never!)

I have come to a realization this past year, one I desperately wish hadn’t taken me so long to get. I have realized that I can’t afford not to take time for myself. I am a better person and am better equipped to deal with what life sends my way if I take some time out. I need time to spend in prayer, reading God’s Word so that He can speak to me, self-reflection and just relaxing if only for a minute so that I can “recharge” and “refuel”. If I make these things a priority, I am not taking away from my family and my responsibilities – I am investing in them because I consequently have more to offer.

At times it is easy to put so much focus on the many things we need to “do” for our family, friends, and other commitments and justifiably so. Yet, even those things we do in service to the Lord can be less effective if we are not making our relationship to the Lord the first priority and allowing our service to Him to be an outpouring of that relationship.

A while back I wrote about weeds and the spiritual application I saw in my own life. Part of the problem with weeds is how deep and strong their roots are. On the flip side, it is very important that the good plants in our life DO have deep and strong roots. A plant is only as healthy as the root system beneath the surface. I love how this topic is addressed in the book, A Woman After God’s Own Heart. It talks about how a plant can enjoy all the right conditions above the ground, but if there is something missing in the root system, the plant will suffer because it cannot get the proper nourishment.

“We must be devoted to nurturing a root system! Roots make all the difference in the health of a plant, and their presence or absence ultimately becomes known to all. The plant either flourishes or fails, thrives or dies, blossoms or withers. The health of anything-whether a garden plant or a heart devoted to God reflects what is going on (or not going on!) underground.”

The book also discusses icebergs and how the portion that is visible above the water is a very small fraction of the whole. Typically, only 10 percent of the icy mass is above water with 90 percent of it lying beneath the surface. The major strength of an iceberg – which sailors revere and are in awe of - is not even visible above the water. Likewise, “we want our strength in public to be explained by what goes on in private between us and God. If we faithfully nurture what is beneath the surface of our life, people will marvel at what they see of God in us!”

I love this quote by Ray and Anne Ortlund in their book, The Best Half of Life:
“the greater the proportion of your day - of your life – spent hidden in quiet, in reflection, in prayer, [in study,] in scheduling, in preparation, the greater will be the effectiveness, the impact, the power, of the part of your life that shows.” “The impact of your ministry to people will be in direct proportion to the time you spend away from people and with God. “ I believe this applies to family also. I am more loving toward my family when I have taken time to allow God to fill me with His love.

I have to schedule time to relax – sounds ridiculous, but if wait for 'spontaneous relaxation' it will not happen! I have to purpose to read my Bible and pray. I have to plan to do something I enjoy like reading or scrapbooking (or sitting and writing this!). I don’t do these things at the expense of my responsibilities – but so that I have more to put into my responsibilities! If I make it a point to do the things I feel make me more complete as a person (the person that God made me), I have more to offer those around me. I have more love – and energy - for my husband. I am more patient with and kind to my children. I have more discernment when it comes to things I can or cannot do for others outside the home. It is a win-win situation.

In the New Testament, we see that Jesus often drew away from others to spend time alone, to spend time in prayer, etc. He did not shirk his responsibilities, he did not lack compassion for others, He did not shy away from serving. I believe that in everything Jesus did, He was modeling life for us. I believe his actions showed the importance of quiet time set aside from the busyness of life and that we would do well to follow His example.

7 comments:

cindy said...

you are so on sis if we just get to His divine order for our lives which consists of putting Him first in all things then every other thing in life will fall into place ....His word says:"Seek Me first and all else shall be added" so seeking Him first should be a priority and we shouldnt feel guilty cause He calls us to do just that. We need that alone time as you said to refuel otherwise we are no good in any area of life.... wife,mom, friend, servant and so on. So my prayer for us all is to put God as # 1 on our to do lists and not fret if the rest of the list isn't complete everyday.
God Bless Sis,
Cindy

cindy said...

oh and your blog super cute love changes this one is my "FAV."
LOL
CINDY

mel4christ said...

Amen! Hi Kristen, how are you. I love your heart and how the Lord has had you share with everyone. This is so true. I pray that you find that time daily and that when you get those blocks of time to be alone with Him that He refreshes you and strengthens those roots, that you may be a strong tower for your family and minister to those around you. I have been so crazy lately but I am hoping to find some time to enjoy the little things again. Please let me know if you need any help with CTMH. I see you are in SBS and getting networked! Good for you. I pray you are finding blessing out there in blogland. I know I have.

God Bless you!

Melanie

Saved by Grace said...

Kristin!!

Thank you for sharing this, I really needed to read this. I too lacked that quiet time with the Lord. And your right sometimes we have to schedule it in to our daily lives or it may never get done. Believe me, I did that for quite some time now and realized how much I was lacking in all my relationships, especially with the most important one, the Lord. I had to repent to him and am now making sure that He comes first every morning, I'm not perfect and some mornings do go without putting him first. Which those days usually don't go to well.

Thank you so much, this ministered to my heart.

God bless you sister!!
In His Love,
Adrienne

Saved by Grace said...

Oh BTW!!

I love your new bloglift, it is soo cute, they are my favorite colors. Brown and pink!!! It's pinkabrownalicious!!!!

Paper doll said...

Hello Kristin, so nice to meet you we have several things in common christianity, ctmh and SBS. I see that I will get much encouragement from your site.

Roxy said...

Well said! I have personally found that when I don't make the time, then everything else does suffer.

One of the things I've been blessed with these past few months is my training time for a 60 mile walk I'm doing next month. When I walk, I'm either listening to praise and worship music, or just having a good old fashion conversation with God.

In fact, I enjoy my walks so much that I'm planning on continuing after the event is over. And it's not the walking that I enjoy so much as is the uninterrupted time with God. One of my walks, which I do at least 2 times a week, is a 7 mile walk to my husband's office when I get out of work. People at my office think I'm nuts for doing it.

Blessings!
Roxy