A step back is not necessarily a sign of weakness or defeat. There is a need in our world to reflect and take a deep breath. Those of us who love to push ahead and keep pressing on, the need to hit the pause button and take some time to think unhurriedly. It is very appropriate at specific points to take a time out. It is okay to step back and regroup and recharge your battery. There are events in life that can cause you to lose equilibrium temporarily. I have had this experience on several occasions. Many of us have been instructed to forge ahead, put our heads down and keep pushing forward. There are times when that is the appropriate response, but also when retreating for a set period is the correct thing to do.
Often in the Bible, we read that Jesus often withdrew to a solitary place. He went to spend time with His Father to pray. If Jesus needed alone time and quiet time with the Father, how much more do I need to get away and quiet my heart and mind? Jesus instructed His disciples that they needed to get away from the routine. In a noisy, busy, boisterous, and complex world, we need to get alone to pray, think, listen, and allow our minds and hearts to be refreshed and renewed. How can this take place amid our hectic schedules and lives? Allow me to offer some suggestions:
- It must be scheduled. A few years ago, I played a trick on myself. To enfold some important things into my schedule, I learned that if I put them on my calendar, I would treat them differently. If it were an appointment, I would take it more seriously. I placed my morning quiet time on my calendar. The reason is that I get up early; I can attend to this early in the morning while the house is still quiet. I have learned to love this time of “going to my solitary place.” Anything essential should be on your calendar and treated like all other appointments. Something that I am committed to seeing happens!
- It must be a priority. For me, scheduling made this a priority in my life. I planned it early, so there would be no interruptions, phone calls, or texts awaiting immediate replies. I had to attend to it first thing in the morning for it to be a priority. I know not everyone is a morning person, but you must find a time that will work for you. I still lean toward the morning as it sets the course for my day.
- It must not just be a habit. What I mean is that I love my wife not just because it is my priority or practice; I love her because, well, I love her. We must see our quiet time as more than a habit; it must become something we look forward to and anticipate because we are in a love relationship with our Lord. Relationships grow and develop by spending time together. Spending time with God must be more than checking something off of a list; it must be spending time with our Heavenly Father.
- It will become a special time in your day. It will become the foundational time of your day. Remember, it is not a duty, but spending time with your loved one. It may take time to develop this practice; I encourage you to keep at it. As in all relationships, there may be a time you miss, don’t beat yourself up; keep making it a priority.
Reflecting over the years, I can now see that it was like having a personal retreat daily.