“Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth!” -Psalm 46:10 (AMPC)
Recently, I took advantage of a good friend’s gift of hospitality and spent the day having my own private mini-retreat at her home. And by “retreat”, I mean personal mental health day. One of those, “if I don’t take time to reset my life, my head is going to explode” days. And at the end of the day, I was reminded of just how critical these check-ups really are!
Its more than just a day of rest. Our regular weekly Sabbath is necessary to sustain life in general. But this was one of those mental “spring cleaning” days. A reconnecting with myself and resetting of personal vision and values. I don’t know about you, but I’m a minimalist. A few times a year I HAVE to clean out our entire home. Every room, every closet, every drawer. If we don’t use it, like it, wear it, need it, play with it, etc.-its going to get recycled, repurposed, donated, or just plain thrown out. And everything that’s being kept gets reorganized. I LOVE these days. I needed to have one of these days, mentally. Time to clear out the mental clutter, simplify, organize, and ask the Lord “what does our life need to look like right now?” In order for us to continue to walk in obedience to all that you’ve called us to, what do we need to do more of? Less of? What do we need to start, stop, and continue doing? A mental, emotional, spiritual check-up.
It took a number of nudges and challenges from a wise mentor and my husband to get me to finally set this day aside. I had to battle thoughts like…
If I take a whole day, in addition to my weekly Sabbath, to do this-how much farther “behind” on life will I get?
What if I don’t like what I find?
What if I realize that I have to make changes in my life and leadership that are hard?
But deep down I knew the truth. Because I’ve seen it at work over the past year…
Rest is good.
God’s correction is gentle.
And spending time with the Lord to take a good, long, hard look at yourself is never as bad as you think its going to be. Because His goal is not to point out all the places that you’re missing it. Believe it or not, He wants that time with you so that He can show you just how much He loves you, and remind you of your identity in Him, and to reassure you that you’re doing better than you think you are.
So I scheduled my “mental health” day. And because I didn’t know what to expect I took my Bible, my journal, my whiteboard notebook (because what’s a good “retreat” without some white boarding?!), some books, and my laptop. Not only did God take time to lovingly and gently help me sort through some of the questions I’d been wrestling with, He also reminded me what it feels like to be inspired.
The same mentor who first encouraged me to set this time aside, also asked a few months ago- “What feeds your soul? And are you doing it?”
Whatever it may look like for each of us, I believe its critical to take these moments of retreat so that we can ask God and ourselves the most important questions! To remember that we are designed to be human BEINGS not human DOINGS. To reconnect with and taste of the things that feed our soul…the very passions that God himself put in us.
In a world that is often busy, fast, and loud it is imperative that we are intentional about taking time to be still, slow, and quiet.
To simply take time…
Time to read.
Time to pray.
Time to breathe.
Time to play.
Time to write.
Time to worship.
Time to rest.
Time to cry.
Time to laugh.
Time to create.
Time to dream.
Time to plan.
Time to get on our knees…better yet, on our face before the Lord.
Time to let Him show us…
The places where we need to “be still.”
The things that we need to “let be.”
When it is time to rest, and…
When it is time to riot.
Our God is not only a creative genius, He is also a master planner. And He talks to us.
He delights in getting to spend a whole day with us, one on one. He is jealous for our worship and our attention.
From personal calling to family values to strategic planning…there is nothing that our God cannot define, determine, or direct.
So, what are the things that feed your soul-and are you tasting of them?
Do you know when to rest and when to riot? When to be still, and what to let be?
When was the last time you were still, slow, and quiet?
It does not have to be a particular day, time, or place. You can start right where you are. Even if its just 10 minutes locked in the bathroom while the kids are doing who-knows-what. The Lord will honor what we give Him and He will meet us where we are. We just have to take the first step… Unplug, reset, and reconnect!