Everyone needs and wants a place of quiet rest. It could be a place out in the woods, down at the ocean, up in the mountains. We often find these places away from home because our homes are too close and part of our day-to-day routines, or the usual difficult circumstances and challenges in our lives. We all like to set these aside and step away from them. For some, it means no telephones, no television, no city noises, no demands, no people, no deadlines or nothing that has to be done.
Our time at these rest havens is often too short and we find ourselves heading back to the things we wanted to take a break from all too soon. We anticipate crises that await us or even the thoughts of stepping back into the very whirlwind that we wanted to get away from. I get the fact that our preference is always the peace and quiet. While most of us don’t have the same degree of struggles that King David had, we all would join him in his thoughts, “If only I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and find rest. How far away I would flee; I would stay in the wilderness. I would hurry to my shelter from the raging wind and the storm.” While we would be quick to get away, hoping to prolong our stays away from our busy lives, and perhaps even wanting to make it a permanent lifestyle, we need to recognize that it’s not good to be completely isolated and undisturbed for a long period of time. This can often lead to stagnation which generally refers to a lack of progress, growth, or development. Stagnation can be experienced in different aspects, such as spiritual, emotional, or personal growth.
- So how do we avoid or even combat stagnation? Here are a few ways:Pursue Wisdom and Knowledge. Proverbs 18:15 says, “The mind of the discerning acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks it. We need to be active in seeking wisdom and knowledge through the study of God’s Word. We can’t just go to our “happy place” and chill.
- Perseverance and Endurance. Hebrews 12:1-2 encourages us to run with endurance the race set before us, looking (and depending) on Jesus as the ultimate example. Challenging times and circumstances in our lives keeps us active in our dependance and relationship with God.
- Faith and Trust in God. Proverbs 3:5-6 urges us to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Trusting in Him is the best and sometimes only way to keep moving forward when we feel overwhelmed.
- Serving Others. Galatians 5:13 encourages believers to serve one another in love. Engaging in service and helping others can provide a sense of purpose and prevent stagnation.
God will often cause some disturbance in our lives to prevent us from getting stagnant or lazy. This unsettling process in our lives are considered bothersome and we try to avoid them at all costs. But the reality is, they are essential as part of our spiritual growth, and they also help us to understand that our best resting place is not some quiet getaway but near the heart of God.
As always, God has our best interest at heart. Every disappointing, challenging, or unsettling circumstance of life has been selected for us for our good.
While getting away is always something we desire and like to pursue, we should always remember that the difficulties and challenges we take a break from is for our good and with God’s leading will cause us to grow as we continue in our sanctification process.