Takeaways From an Escape
As I write to you, rain cascades from treetops and puddles in the muddy gravel below. However, it’s quite cozy in this little house nestled near a small river in the middle of the forest. These three days have featured progress on the book and other smaller pieces, as well as walks in the woods, time with God, and some reading. I also learned some things.
1. Pace = peace and productivity
In how many directions does life think it can pull us? We scramble to juggle it all, as if to keep plates spinning in our own multi-ring circus. The constant hurry fools us into believing that this is average, normal. Dear friends, I’m here to report that we’ve been duped. Slowing down for a few days has allowed me to calm my mind a little and actually accomplish more quality work than my usual multitasking. I hypothesize that, if we dared to ease the frenzy, we’d still be able to complete our tasks well. I shall conduct this experiment upon my return and report back with results.
2. Nature Nourishes
Walks on the beach are a regular occurrence for me, but I’m still in Los Angeles city limits. But this week, I breathed fresh mountain air, damp and piney. Rocks, course sand, or soft leaf-carpeted paths stretched out beneath my feet. The orange, yellow, and red of fall wove itself intricately between shades of green and brown. When the curtain of low, gray clouds moved aside, mountains with snowy tops reminded me of their watchful presence. And me? You know that feeling when you know you belong in a loving group of people? That encouraging security told me that, even though I am a visitor, I am welcome and part of the masterpiece God created. That comfort didn’t come from the trees or the river. I finally heard the Holy Spirit’s whispers of truth.
3. Writing Well
Oh, what fun it is to write with a one-track focused mind! Want a sneak peek at some book progress?
Being on the sidelines presents us with a golden opportunity to offer the gift of hospitality. Our generous, unconditional kindness can change someone’s story for the better. Imagine if Jethro left Moses at the well or, at the very least, sent him on his way with gifts. Or what if they said farewell after the initial supper and Moses continued to wander? Instead, the security of a loving family surely helped shape Moses’ character. Witnessing Jethro’s leadership as a priest began early training that Moses would need when he stepped into his own leadership position. He certainly learned something about shepherding the Israelites while tending literal flocks. Jethro’s invitation to Moses was much more than dinner. He impacted Moses’ life with lasting effects.
4. Friends Fulfill
Solitude has its benefits, but after a little while something is missing. By the afternoon of day two, I broke my self-imposed social media limits. This was not due to technology addiction, but because it connects me with loved ones near and far. A break from noise and responsibilities is wonderful, but prolonged isolation deprives us of precious people.
5. Quality Quiet Time
Our best intentions to be with God are frequently hindered by pending tasks and deadlines. If we aren’t careful, Bible study and prayer become other items on the to-do list and we rush through in the name of responsible time management. This week, the schedule was flexible, allowing time to truly abide in the Lord. We can process the concepts in the Word, take our time in prayer, and be attentive to the Spirit when the rest of our day is built around God. (Note: I still believe that it doesn’t need to happen in the morning if that’s not your best time of day. What I’m saying is that it’s got to be the centerpiece, the cornerstone, the foundation upon which the rest of it all is constructed.)
Of course, as you read this, I’ve been home for a couple of weeks. This is the true test- have I taken the gift of these lessons to heart, or did I leave them on the kitchen table of the little house in the woods when I drove away? I’ll be sure to let you know. And I pray you also find peaceful rest wherever you are. It’s possible because the presence of God is constantly surrounding you. Be blessed as you abide in Him, dear friend.
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