Several of us ACWM bloggers have written about the Unchained Retreat with Vicki Courtney. Vicki’s talks hit my heart in many areas, but I’d have to say that one of my favorites was a quote from Sunday. But first, here is the back-story….
Mark 1:21-37 records a single day in Jesus’ life. It shows Him teaching in the Capernaum synagogue, healing a dsiciple’s mother-in-law, and then standing outside her door healing the sick and oppressed who were brought to Him. The very next morning, Jesus retreated to a “desolate place” to pray. The disciples finally found him and begged Him to come back to the Capernaum because people were looking for Him. Instead, Jesus announced they were moving to the next town to teach and heal there.
And here is the quote that stopped me in my tracks: “Jesus declined their summons to fill the role they wanted for Him.”
Wow. Stop a minute and think about that. The people wanted Him to come heal needy people in Capernaum. They wanted Him to raise more people from the dead. These are all good things…important things!!!
Why didn’t Jesus do these extra things? His priority was living in unity with the Father. He followed His Father’s will, not His own. Jesus was divine, but even He had to recharge with the presence of the Father. In the midst of the urgent pressures and stress around Him, Jesus, the God-man, stopped to spend time with the Father.
How many “good” roles am I filling that are taking the place of time with God? Is this why I am so worn out? Is it because my humanity is weary from all the needs pressing in on me? Have I failed to keep all the balls in the air because I was juggling more than I was meant to?
Vicki then asked us, “Are you keeping busy to get the applause of men?”
Several years ago a friend of mine shared a conversation she had with her husband. She was considering some volunteer roles, when he asked her, “Why isn’t it good enough to just be a wife and mom?” Rehearsing that statement has prevented me from overbooking several seasons in my life. I thought I had overcome my people-pleasing tendencies, but Vicki’s question revealed otherwise. How many of these roles do I fill because they pad my ego?
When I get too busy, I don’t retreat to the Father.
When I don’t retreat to the Father, I run out of steam.
When I run out of steam, I look for cheap substitutes to make me feel better.
When I feel better, I get too busy again.
See the vicious cycle? Meanwhile, I fail at what matters most.
So, here goes…let’s replace the cycle with a new one.
When I get too busy, I stop and retreat to the Father.
When I retreat to the Father, He fills me with the ability to do what He wants me to do.
When I operate in His power, I have abundant life without the busy-ness and cheap substitutes.
Meanwhile, I am at rest, succeeding at what matters most.
If JESUS was unable to act on His own, then we should not even try. We NEED to spend time resting in Him. We NEED to invest time in learning about Him. We NEED to make time to listen to what He wants to tell us.
I was not meant to fill ALL the needs around me. (Yes, that’s a blow to the ego.) I was meant to fill only the roles God has laid out for me. I can only know what those are when I spend time with Him. What is the Father doing that He wants us to do, too?