The lonely place

With a determined step I ducked into a side aisle, empty of people and shook my head as my son cried out in frustration at my seeming lack of direction.  I tried to speak with him and assure him that things would get better and we would leave the store soon.  He didn’t have patience and I don’t blame him.  He was tired.  His teething was wearing out his body as sleep and structure had been affected.  The only thing I wanted to do was find one last thing and then we’d leave the store.

My cart heavy with snacks and goodies for the Superbowl was weighing on my mind.  What happens if anyone sees this cart?  What happens if people think this is what I eat?  As I turned that last corner, almost ready to leave it happened.  I ran into someone from a local Church.  Wonderful and kind they wanted to know about my life.  They asked about my son. Then they launched into their story, they wanted me to hear it.  As I stood in the aisle with a squirmy, complaining toddler and a cart full of junk I listened to their testimony.  I heard their story.  And this wasn’t the end.  She wasn’t the only one I would see. There were more people, more stories.  As I worked my way back up to the front of this seemingly endless big box store I found people who wanted to express.  I found people who wanted to engage.

Finding people on a day when you don’t want to be found can be one of the hardest things about ministry.  That day when you can barely hold your temper as like your son you’re tired and you both just want to get home.  Finding people who want to share about their lives, who proudly tell their friend that you ministered to them at some point in their life can be difficult.  Finding these people makes me realize one thing about myself.  I can be extraordinarily selfish.   Instead of wanting to engage, I wanted to run.  Instead of wanting to minister, I wanted to go home and sleep.

I came home feeling guilty.  I came home feeling ashamed.  I came home upset and remembered something important.  Something significant to my situation.  “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” {Luke 5:16 NIV}.  Jesus withdrew.  Jesus recharged.  Jesus took time away.   In the last weeks and months I have not been withdrawing.  I plunge head first into work, life and activities.  I fail to take the time needed to recharge and reconnect.  How can I expect to be able to support others if I don’t take time to get God’s support?  How can I expect to continue going without seeking direction and guidance from the one who got me going in the first place?

Jesus went into the lonely places and prayed.  It’s time for me to find a lonely place.  It’s time for me to meet God once again.

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17 responses to “The lonely place

  1. I’ve just stumbled across your blog, and I’m so glad I did. Thank you for sharing your struggles with this. I’ve been there so many times, and it’s so encouraging to remember that Jesus took time to recharge.

  2. Thanks Becky – this is spot on. The time away comes infrequently, and only after much regret (it seems) and I too am struggling to find time to recharge. It’s coming though, because the people who care most about me insist on it.
    and by the way, superbowl food rules are the same as church food rules – anything eaten on sacred time (or in sacred space) is not held against you.
    Be well
    Jeff

    • I’m glad people are taking care of you Jeff! We all need to take that time to recharge.

      It’s good to know that the food rules don’t apply when it comes to the Superbowl. I’ll be sure to remember that tomorrow!

  3. Thanks Becky….joining you in that lonely place….because we all need it…and most of all, because Jesus calls us there.

  4. Well my friend, I hear you- as an absolute extraovert and my friends reading this will smile as they know it is true- sometimes you just need that place. And that time! Just like Jesus. I have just come out of an extremely busy month- actually 5 months and I am finally on study leave. Only study leave is at a conference filled with Christian Educators, people wanting to share their story and so on…. Full of activity and sensory overload. I am loving what I am learning but so need time to just be alone for a bit and recharge. I never realized till this time here how important it is and how much it is needed! Thanks for sharing and not making me feel guilty for just sneaking out of my last workshop a half hour early! And thank you for this blog and love to my friends reading this from me in Grand Rapids to you in your small corners!

    • Thanks for sharing your friend’s blog Angela. I printed it off. It rings true for all busy women, not just those ministering. We all need to remind ourselves that if we don’t take time for ourselves to recharge, then we aren’t giving our all to ANYONE!!
      Kelly

      • Thanks for dropping by Kelly! I think it is a universal truth that we must take time for ourselves to reflect, pray and discern with God. When we do this we accomplish so much more. I was glad to be reminded of this.

    • We all need that place {extrovert or not} and I’m glad you are realizing that you need some time alone. You must take care of yourself. Never feel guilty for taking that time!!!! I hope you enjoyed your conference and will get a little time to decompress when you get home. 🙂

  5. Amen, sister. Amen.

  6. The first thing I think of after reading this is how we are all just human. Sometimes I’ve forgotten that someone who was “higher up” in ministry was just human and expected too much of them. We all need to learn we’re on the same level… of humanity, that is. Just human. With access to the same God in the same ways. Maybe if we’re all depending on Him more, we won’t drain each other and expect so much of each other, I wonder? Maybe if we are all getting that time away and alone with Him like Jesus did we’ll have more encouragement to offer? Thanks for writing and sharing this, it gets me thinking.

    • We are all human, aren’t we? I got a much needed reminder this week that I need to depend on God. I’m glad you like the article and that it got you thinking! I’m still thinking about this too. 🙂

  7. Dear Becky 🙂 I loved this entry a lot 🙂 prayers always

  8. I am glad you appreciated Kelly! I agree with you! You deserve a break too! I am going to print it off too! Happy days to you! And, you too Beck!

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