To say I resist quiet time is an understatment. It is difficult to keep up with me when my to-do list is long and my calendar is full. I thrive on social interaction and service opportunities. My family and friends are sometimes hard pressed to nail me down for a telephone conversation that isn’t happening on the way to church or on the way home. Not every day is like this but when many of them are and I don’t take the time to get quiet it all becomes too much and then I am forced to lay low, cocoon and do nothing for a few hours or even a few days. I have to stop and find my center or I should say, let my center find me.
We run our lives far too often like a race, feeling and being motivated by the sense that if we just get all of these pressing things done or checked off our list we will then be able to take a deep breath. We become caught up in this world’s idea of success and forget that God is in every breath we take, even the shallow ones.
Why do we run? What do we hope to find or accomplish in chasing down the last item on our to-do list each day? Is it our worth? Is our sense of belonging and value tied to keeping up with the Jones’? Why is it so easy for us to forget that we were created in God’s image? No matter how we falter or please in this life, He loves us just the way we are; broken and beautiful, hopeless and perfectly flawed, lost yet always found worthy.
In our baptism we are claimed by Jesus Christ, washed in His living water, never to be thirsty again. Yet our mouths once again become dry when we take our eyes off of Him, quickly we become dehydrated and tattered by the demands and perceived pressures of this world. Our seeking, our running, it is our thirsting for Him.
Staying engaged in this never-ending tightrope walk disconnects us from God; we no longer see the benefit of slowing down and making time for Him in prayer or solitude. Darkness prevails as we find ourselves worn thin and depleted of compassion, patience and understanding. Making time for His love in our lives is the very food that feeds us. Taking time out to appreciate and sit in gratitude for all our blessings creates more blessings. This competition we participate in pushes God’s love away, and shifts our focus. We begin to think we do not need anybody’s help, we turn away from God and our community convinced we could go it alone. We take our eyes off the abundance in our lives and allow the critical inner eye to convince us we do not have enough, we are not enough. Ignoring the warning signs of our hearts, we find ourselves drained, standing in contradiction to why we serve.
The irony of it all is that we are actually in search of God’s love and mercy. The mercy we cannot earn, the grace that cannot be bought, bartered or found at the end of a to-do list. When we take the time to breath Him in, accepting His refuge, we find that every obstacle faced also has a blessing and a reward. It’s hard to grasp sometimes, but when we rest as Christian disciples we rest in the knowledge of His infinite love for us; an eternal salvation that can only be found in Him. The cost is never greater than we can bear because He has already faced the taxman, paid the price and bore the cost for us. Love is our pursuit, and to be loved by God we only need to stand still and let Him draw close and we are renewed.
J. C. Beichner