Written by Rachel Denison
A common definition for refreshment is: the giving of fresh mental or physical strength or energy. Some synonyms are invigoration, rejuvenation and renewal.
Last week was exactly what I needed. Craig and I got away to Colorado for a bit, which by the way has got to be the home of all refreshment second to the feet of Jesus. Wow, what a breath of fresh air where we were simply met by God himself and deeply ministered to by him.
Sometimes you just need that. Today I want to encourage you if you're tired, weary and worn out to get away for a time of refreshment (the giving of fresh mental or physical strength or energy.) Take time to be renewed.
Why should we consistently make a habit of getting away to get refreshed by God?
1. We are dust. We are weak. God created us that way in order that we may be completely dependent on him who is strong.
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” -2 Corinthians 12:9
“As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.” -Psalm 103:13-14
2. Jesus modeled this for us. And if he needed rest/refreshment, you can bet your life we need it even more. Simply put, we NEED this.
But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. –Luke 5:16 (NIV)
3. God will meet us there, and personally give us rest. What could be a better reason than this?
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” -Matthew 11:28-30
“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.” -Psalm 23:1-3
4. Seasonally, we need fresh vision from God. It is easy to see our tank go empty and our vision to get distorted or lost over time in the world we live in. Making consistent rhythms of rest priority will set us up to be strong in him!
“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” -Jeremiah 33:3
“If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves; But when they attend to what he reveals, they are most blessed.” –Proverbs 29:18 (MSG)
5. We have got to slow down and be reminded of what truly matters. Taking time to get away and physically disconnect from the world—social media, work, email, television—helps us to see clearly and forces us to stop the cycle of busyness and constant entertainment. Take a minute to actually be bored. See where that might take you mentally, you may get a special word from God or simply be drawn to think about him. This is a very good thing, and something constant connection with the world and entertainment has taken from us as a people.
“Martha and Mary Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.’ But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.’” -Luke 10:38-42
As I slowed down and focused on Jesus, I saw him everywhere. I felt him everywhere. I realized how numb I had become living in our fast-paced Dallas culture. I’m sharing from beautiful images from our time there. Jesus simply encouraged me to slow down and look around. “Look at the flowers,” he said. “Look at the different varieties in color, shape and size. I have formed and specifically fashioned them all.”
Of course as I was on this little time of rest, I felt the world nagging at me… Turn on the TV, check your email, check social media. But I found there were simply ways to combat this. It is important to actually disconnect, so actual get away in the midst of our technological age. Some things I found handy were:
1. Actually set an “Out of Office” reply on your email. For the first couple days I didn’t do this, and I realized I was not truly disconnecting. I was not fully turning the work part of my brain off. Do this! And don’t check your email again. It can wait. Saying something in it like, “If you need immediate assistance, please call our office at (insert your office number here) during our regular business hours, 8:30am-5:00pm,” can ease your mind and help you know, they can call our office if it truly is an immediate need.
2. If you struggle with constantly checking your social media accounts, delete the app from your phone while on vacation! That’s pretty simply and self-explanatory. I don’t think social media is the devil, but I do think many of us are addicted in an unhealthy way, and it can keep us from allowing our minds to drift to God and worship him in our "bored moments.”
3. If you’re trying to get away and read or spend time with God and your phone keeps going off, use the Airplane mode or Do Not Disturb settings (or just turn it off). You can use airplane mode and still listen to worship, take pictures, read your Bible App, etc.
4. If you feel the urge to veg and watch TV, physically move the TV into a closet or unplug that thing. Then, go outside for a walk. God has plenty more to reveal to us in nature than we could ever imagine.
After this week I was simply reminded of how important it is to make a habit of getting true, deep rest for our souls. This to me goes beyond vacation or entertainment and looks like getting alone with God, unplugging and spending authentic time with friends and family free from distractions. It looks like allowing ourselves time to think and process. If you don’t know when your next time like this is, I would encourage you to schedule it. Get it on your calendar so you have it to look forward to. This blog is not to encourage running on empty until you have a time to get away, of course not. Keep spending and getting that daily time with God. In fact, Craig’s First15 is a great resource for that if you are not sure where to start. But we need extended periods of time to get away and retreat with God on top of the daily we require.