But he would withdraw to deserted places and pray. - Luke 5:16
Each and every day I use a number of electronic devices to do my work and to communicate with many different people. I use my computer to compose emails, do sermon research and write sermons (and newsletters). I use my iPad to do much of the same when I am on the go as well as to read the library of ebooks that I have installed on it. I also use an iPhone to make phone calls, send text messages, listen to music, and stay connected to friends, family, and members of Immanuel, through social networks.
Any time I am on the go many, if not all, of these devices are with me allowing me to work wherever I find myself. Recently when packing up all of my electronic devices in order to go home for the day I accidentally left my computer power cord at the church. Now this wasn't really a big deal, and was more of an inconvenience than an actual problem, but it got me thinking. Each of the devices that I mentioned runs on a battery and over time and with use, the energy in that battery is depleted. If the device completely runs out of energy, it is essentially useless (except for maybe being a very large paperweight). Without giving each of these devices time to charge, they aren't much good to me.
The more I thought about this little inconvenience of mine, the more I thought about how true this is of us as well. You and I are capable of so much. We are able to communicate, create, build, meet, support, and yet we like the electronic devices that help us accomplish our goals, need time to recharge or we aren’t much use to anyone including ourselves.
I recently read an article on the NY Times blog entitled “The ‘Busy’Trap” in which the author shared that we as a culture have gotten into the habit of using this word to constantly describe our state of being and that being busy has in fact become the new standard of living. He writes:
“Almost everyone I know is busy. They feel anxious and guilty when they aren’t either working or doing something to promote their work...The present hysteria is not a necessary or inevitable condition of life; it’s something we’ve chosen, if only by our acquiescence to it.”
We are all busy, we all have many responsibilities that place demands on our time, but perhaps we are too busy. Perhaps we say yes to too many things when we should allow ourselves the freedom to say no to some of them. Throughout all of the Gospels there are plenty of examples of Jesus withdrawing from the crowds of people, from his responsibilities and even his disciples in order have time to recharge and pray. By taking some time to be alone, Jesus was in fact saying no to some things that he could have been doing at that moment in order to meet his own need to rest, pray and recharge. My guess is that many of us are in the habit of saying that we are to busy to take even a few minutes out of our day to pray, but if that is indeed the case, then I would suggest that we are too busy.
So here’s my challenge, take time each day for yourself, whether it’s only a few minutes, a half hour, an hour or more, take time to rest, pray and recharge. Call it a Lenten discipline allowing you to just breathe and not be busy if only for a short time. If this isn’t already a regular part of your daily life I’m sure you could benefit from it.
May the God of grace and love move each of us to stop, to listen, to be at peace, and to not let each of us forget to recharge.
Blessings and Peace,