Tuesday, 8 February 2011

time out

So i'm off for my 1/4 days again to Lancaster, leaving my wife and lovely son in the safe care of mummy & granny respectively. It's always so good to take time out and reflect and just slow down the pace of our lives, but is so hard to actually do it. With having a busy job and an all-consuming (yet delightful) little 4month old around, i'm beginning to understand all the more how difficult it is for people to really take time out. I'm aware also of the great privilege of these 1/4 days - in essence retreat days on top of my annual leave - for reflection, refuelling and planning.

I guess i understand too, how vital it was for Jesus to retreat from ministry and get some alone time, time with God, time to rest, in order to run the next bit of the ministry race. Over Christmas i was off work with stress and after breaking through the feeling of humiliation at being off work, and the sense of general useless and patheticness i realised how vital it was at that particular time for me, just to rest and be honest and real with myself, others and God. How consumed i had become with the business of ministry, that i had completely forgotten what it was about. How obsessed i had become about meeting expectations and keeping the show on the road, that my creativity and sense of inspiration - at any level - had all but vanished. Resting helped so much. Time to think, time to rediscover who i was, regardless of my employment status, time to pray - in a real and honest way, not filled with 'professional' pretence, time to be with God.

I'm reminded of the story of Elijah, busy with ministry but feeling incredibly discouraged, filled with exhaustion and self-pity, fed by the angels and taking 40 days recovery as he journeyed towards re-discovering the place of God's real and vital presence. Of course, it was there that the famous still small voice, speaks quietly, yet refreshingly to Elijah's soul.

So i'm again asking myself in these few days of time out, how can i maintain a pattern of making space (not taking holiday or being slack) but valuably using 'ministry time' to dig deep into God and allow myself to be still enough to hear and recognise God's voice. How do i maintain guilt-free quiet spaces to refuel and enable ministry to be maybe a little more productive (quantity) but more effective (quality).

I'm asking myself again, how well (not at all very in my case) our church facilitates quiet space for those with hectic and busy lives? How does worship not just carry on the manic activity but enable reflection and space to hear from God and be stirred afresh in our lives?

Much to think of, in these few days away. Comments as always welcome!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Gaz! Rest is good!

I think our attitude to rest needs to change. rest needs to go from an escape from activity, to actually become a worthwhile and needed activity in itself, if that makes sense. as long as it remains the former, we'll end up feeling that we're wasting time, or procrastinating, or feeling that we should be 'doing' something.

I love the monastic devotion to a lifestyle or prayer, work, rest, and leisure/learning, all focussed on getting our attention on the Lord.

All of us in 'ministry' could do with getting back to basics like these brothers.

Anyways. Im rambling again. would be great to catch up with you man.

Big Love,