God sightings, Scripture verses, What I've Learned Lately

Stepping (or floating) away from the rest of the world

getting away from the rest of the world

When was the last time you got away from the world for a while, just stepped away and enjoyed the peace and quiet without checking your phone every few minutes?

My husband and I spent several hours Sunday afternoon doing something we haven’t done together in years: fishing. And when I say years, I mean I can’t remember fishing together since before we were married (and we celebrated #31 in April!).

He’s gone with friends and has taken our kids over the years and has even fished in creeks or the surf when we’ve gone places. But just the two of us in a boat together? Not since our dating days.

Our church is currently sharing a pastor with another congregation, which means our service is over by 10 a.m. Afterwards, I picked up lunch while my husband got the boat ready and we headed to one of the local reservoirs.

It was a gorgeous afternoon, sunny and calm with a sky so blue it looked Photo Shopped. We heard lots of frogs on the bank and I could count on one hand the number of other boats we saw or cars we heard.

Lovely time away from all the other “things” — absolutely lovely.

Lots of things have changed for us as we’ve adjusted to life as empty nesters in the past year. Our schedules have shifted and we’re finding ways to fill the hours (nights, weekends) that used to be focused on the kids and their things (not that we ever regret those days — it’s what makes parenting parenting). It’s nice to find new things to do together or get back to some things we enjoyed years ago.

Stepping away from the rest of the world and its busyness can be tough to do, but it’s vital for us physically, mentally and spiritually. We need time away by ourselves and time away with those closest to us.

Jesus got away – so we can, too.

After all, if Jesus could take time away from the world in the midst of His ministry, who am I to think I don’t need a break myself? Sometimes Jesus got away by Himself (such as in Matthew 12:22-23, Mark 1:35) and sometimes He took a few of His closest disciples with Him (such as in Mark 14:32-42).

In both situations, Jesus set the example and sent an important message: it’s okay to step away from the world to relax and recharge. No guilt necessary. 😊

I think it’s also important to pay attention to when Jesus carved out these getaway times. They often were after something monumental had happened, when He needed focused prayer time, or when He was on the brink of a decision or change.

Sound familiar? Those are the times when I need to step away, too – and maybe the same is true for you.

When you realize that time is needed, how do you recharge? Sometimes I go somewhere by myself, such as the Monastery of the Holy Spirit that’s not too far from our home. Other times it’s nice to go with someone. I’m glad I said “yes” to fishing on Sunday and “no” to the other things I could have done. Because guess what? Those other things still got done later.

Plus, I started the week in a better frame of mind after getting away for a while. I hope you make time to step away from the busyness in your world this week, too. What will you try?

 

Dear Lord, our days are so full of things to do, things to plan, things that fill our minds and keep us busy, busy, busy. Help us slow down. Help us step away to rejuvenate ourselves and to reconnect with You and the people we love. Because when we slow down, we’ll see You. When we see You, we’ll be changed. And that’s what we want. Amen.


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Living in Faith, Scripture verses

Jesus is not here!

What emotions the past two days have brought for the women who followed Jesus.

Friday, full of anguish and shock and numbing grief as they watch from the fringes. Jesus – their Jesus, the one they love so much – suffers through a sham of a trial. Is beaten beyond recognition. Ridiculed and spit upon. Forced to carry His own cross along the streets and up to Golgatha, then nailed to a cross in the most agonizing form of death imaginable.

Saturday, full of disbelief. Wishing this nightmare would end. Wondering how they would go on without Jesus. Shedding too many tears and soul-wracking sobs to count.

Sunday, meeting early in the morning to prepare His body with spices. Still mourning – because will that ever end? – but grateful they can offer Him this one last gift.

Then they arrive at His tomb and see the stone has been rolled away. Or are they imagining things in their grief? Are they really at the right tomb?

The man nearby says the most amazing words ever spoken: “He is not here!”

Not because the women are at the wrong tomb. Not because robbers have stolen Jesus’ body. Not because He has been moved to another place.

But because He has been raised from the dead, just as He told them would happen.

So many emotions run through the women at those words: confusion, relief, disbelief, excitement.

And overriding it all, once they see the empty tomb for themselves, joy. Pure, unadulterated, all-consuming joy.

Their Jesus is not dead. Their Jesus is not gone forever.

Their Jesus really is who He said He is, really is who they believed: the Son of God, the long-awaited Messiah, the one to save the people from their sins.

He isn’t there because He is alive! Resurrected, restored, and returning to His glory.

They squeal and cry and probably stumble over their own feet in their rush to find the disciples. To share the glorious news that still amazes us today:

“He is not here!”

Thank you, Jesus, for loving us so much more than we ever deserve.

For still being alive today as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Most of all, for taking our place on the cross as our Savior.

We give you all the glory, honor and praise.

Happy Easter, my friends.