No time for solitude
Mark 1 : 37 "... and when they found him they exclaimed "Everyone is looking for you".
Jesus has been busy, in the verses before this one he has been preaching to the people and healing the sick in huge numbers. Early in the morning he decides to retreat, find somewhere quite and spend time with God.
It doesn't take long for the disciples to start looking for him.
Do you think the disciples were worried about Jesus. Do you think they were hunting for him fearful for his wellbeing?
I'm not convinced they were.
I think they were more concerned with the work that needed to be done, the traveling that lay ahead, the sick that needed healing, and the teaching that people sought. They must have been on a high from all they had witnessed but also aware of how much more could, should and needed to be done.
They were probably wondering what made Jesus think he had time to sit around.
"Come on, we have been looking everywhere for you, have you seen all the people and the work to be done. What are you doing up here all by yourself. You've been gone ages, we have all been waiting you know. Come on, quick as you can, we have a busy day ahead."
Now I'm sure the disciples didn't say this to Jesus. But I bet you feel people are saying it to you sometimes. From the moment we get up to the moment we lay down people require of us our time and energy. Work, spouse, children, friends, family and church. Each one taking a chunk until we are left emotionally, physically and spiritually drained. We need to stop to re fuel but sometimes when we do it feels self indulgent.
I have lists for everything. Both work and home have lists that seem never ending and are constantly being added to. My mind is constantly running through these to do lists and slotting jobs in to allocated slots of time. After the school run, after lunch, between the end of school and tea time, the evening, before bed. Each section of my day filled to maximum capacity in a hope of achieving the highest level of productivity. Giving one of these slots over to God can sometimes even make be feel anxious. Every job on my to do list has a sense of urgency that makes me feel unable to give it up. When I do stop, then like Jesus, its never long before people come looking. The phone, social media, children and commitments all start to creep in and knock on my door of solitude.
But we must stop, Jesus commands it of us. He did it himself. Time with God was more important than anything else on his to do list and he knew what needed to get done would get done in its own time. No matter what had gone before or what was still yet to come he knew time with God was essential.
And as a friend told me recently, you can't pour from an empty cup.
So give yourself this time, not just because God commands it but because you need it. So how do we escape from life for this time of Solitude that Jesus showed us is so important. Here are 3 tips to try this week.
- Tell people where you are going. Don't hide and wait for them to come and find you. Tell them where you will be, what you are doing, why its important and how long you will be. This way they will know when to expect you back and not to disturb you.
- Take a pad and paper (in addition to your study notes). Use it as a to do list. One of the things that will easily disturb us is a sudden thought of something we have forgotten to do. Instead of letting it run around you mind, write it down. This way you can let it leave your mind without worrying you will forget it. Don't use your phone for this as it will draw you in with its updates and notifications.
- Practice. If you don't do it then taking time to be with God can feel a little strange at first. Spending time in pray, worship, Bible study and quiet doesn't always come naturally but as you do it each day you will become for comfortable, less distracted and more fulfilled by it until you get to a point where you feel lost if you miss this precious time in your day.
And as you take this time with God and see God's provision in your life and feel his peace in your circumstances, and you will, don't forget to let others have their time to. Its easy to begrudge your husband some quiet time when he comes home from work while you cook dinner with the children hanging off your leg but he needs it to. If you want your husband to be more patient with your children, more involved in your church, or more loving and considerate towards you then I guarantee you the more time you allow him to spend with God the more changes you will see in all areas of your lives both separately and together.
Trust in the Lord that when you both make time to be in his presents no matter what demands are waiting for you, then your home, family and marriage will be blessed by him.