“Many times Jesus went away to the desert and talked with God.”
- went away
- was alone
- was with the Father
- was counseled
And so should we. Let’s face it, as leaders of our families, organizations, and communities, we are mostly accustomed to doing. We are measured by and celebrated for our accomplishments. Even in a faith based world, we ascribe metrics to how much we did and how many people we did it with.
Jesus’ life seems to paint a different picture. Despite the incredible amount of ministry potential at hand with every step He took, He often walked past the obvious opportunity for the ultimate opportunity… to be with the Father. This is one of the many things about the rhythm of Jesus' life that seems out of step with our Western culture. In fact, it even seems out of step with the culture of most of our spiritual life (including our church life).
My wife and I snuck away to Colorado for 4 days this past week. A cancelled event, a companion ticket, and the incredible generosity of others, allowed us the potential for some rest, recreation, and recharge. That powerfully happened, but I can’t tell you how pervasively it was assaulted. Somewhere on the road to some downtime, the realities of my stretched leadership life crept into the plan. In addition to getting some essential time away, my subconscious agenda included:
- Pushing retreat content down the field
- Writing some meeting content
- Writing a long list of e-mails
- Finalizing a crucial meeting’s agenda
- Recasting some vision
- Reorganizing a few things
- Having a couple of essential phone calls
- Reviewing some content for upcoming meetings
- Even typing this little missive I send out every Monday morning!
The reality is that I am unaccustomed to getting away. This is an unfamiliar discipline. It had been far too long since I enjoyed this kind of down time. I had to fight to be still and quiet… just be present with the Father, and enjoy my bride of 25 years. The reality is that God isn’t in the whirlwind and certainly can’t be noticed and heard in the day to day of the tornado.
What was essential for Jesus is even more essential for us. For it wasn’t in the reading of some great content, focusing on a strategic issue, clicking something off my to-do list, or even trying to formulate a plan to address an ongoing issue, that I found Him. I found Him in the sleeping in, the staring at the blinding glory of His creation, and accomplishing absolutely nothing sitting on a sidewalk bench at over 10 thousand feet elevation on an almost painfully perfect day.
I know more of His power more because of the immensity of His creation. I am more familiar with His character from the drinking in of amazing people, both my wife and some new friends. I am more clear on His intentions for my life and His great love for me simply by being still and quiet with Him… with actually no agenda and nothing practically accomplished as the world measures. Everything “I got done” was a thief that essentially kept me from more of the one thing I most essentially needed.
- When did you last get away to be still and quiet with no agenda?
- Are you aware of the complete assault on that kind of time?
- What is your lack of clarity costing those you love and lead?