Monday, July 14, 2014

Resting and Refocusing

To say I have been uninspired lately is a huge understatement. 

Life is beautifully hard. Changes, struggles, meanness, discouragement, hurt, death, love, blessings and loss all mix together and create a world which at times is difficult to navigate.  I have had the privilege of walking alongside many friends recently as they experience different ups and downs of life. I have loved it!

I have loved listening to stories, hopes, and dreams. I have loved checking in and encouraging each of them when needed. I have loved share scripture and prayers. I have been honored to be trusted with honest feelings of hopelessness, fear, and concern. I loved pouring specific prayers over my sweet friends. I have loved mourning and rejoicing with my people as they navigate through this crazy life.

In the midst of it all my life didn't stop, though. We have been busy with programs, trips, meetings, service, new jobs, birthdays and preparing for some upcoming changes.

I LOVE it all! I love the busy. I love the going. I love the doing. I love the listening. I love the people. I love supporting. I love encouraging. I love sharing. I love it all.

But sometimes it becomes too much. Sometimes between the listening, supporting, loving, sharing, serving, going, doing, changing, growing, mourning, and rejoicing, I am left exhausted and overwhelmed. I begin to have trouble processing it all. I lose my focus. 

I need to stop. I need to breathe. I need to refocus. I need to rest. I need to refuel. I need to be comforted. I need to be encouraged. I need to be loved.

I need the very thing I have tried so very hard to give all those around me.  

Occasionally when life gets too crazy, I am reminded of why Jesus made time to retreat to the mountains alone. I am reminded of the need to rest, pray, smother my thoughts with God, and return focus to Him.

I want to live a life which exudes Christ. I desperately try to do so. I am so often reminded though that there has to be balance between focusing on my own growth in Christ and encouraging others to know him.

I must have both. I must retreat to the mountain to abide in Him and I must use my life to share Him.
It is an and where so many of us put an or.

This past week I caught myself retreating to one of  my mountains. 

This past week was the week my people were at the Bible camp I spent one week each summer growing, learning, and loving as a child.  Due to small children, other obligations, and diapers I haven't been able to commit to the full week in several years. This year as my family made our way up the mountain to visit the first night, I looked at Caleb and exclaimed when I am here I feel home, I feel loved, I feel encouraged, and I feel renewed. I feel peace.

He laughed.

I really do feel those things there. I was baptized on that mountain. I spent a portion of every summer there for so many years. I met my husband there. I made some of my most precious memories and relationships there.  He proposed to me there. There is peace in that place for me. I became so much of who I am there. 

Each night I found myself driving up the one lane, rough, bumpy road in search of that peace. Each night I left with it.

Slowly the mountain was renewing me. Slowly it was reminding me. Slowly it was refreshing me. Slowly it was remaking me.

It wasn't until about Tuesday that I realized I had been searching for a mountain to retreat to for a while now.  Over the past several months as I have searched, listened, encouraged, prayed, mourned and rejoiced for myself and my friends, one thing held true. In all of it I was searching for a peace. I was searching for Jesus.

 I needed a mountain to retreat to in order to see it.

I needed to be anchored in Jesus so I could balance the mourning and rejoicing, the serving and abiding, the encouraging and the encouraged.

The last night I made my way down in the wee hours of the night. I whispered prayers in my car that God would remind me when I needed rest and renewal.  It comes in so many forms and places. I need my eyes opened to see it. 

I left that mountain inspired and excited. My faith was challenged and renewed. I was reminded that my commitment and duty as a follower of Christ matters. I was reminded of my purpose. My focus was removed off of self and replaced onto the creator.

This week I am left with a little bit better understanding on why Jesus chose to temporarily leave his followers, leave his purpose, and leave his works. In order for him to stay committed and focus on his Father and His ultimate plan he had to do so.

I am not sure why, in all my humanity, I fail to realize that very need in myself. 

I am continually amazed by Jesus. He managed to give a perfect example of dying to self while preserving his well being in order to fulfill the greater plan.

Now if only I can remember to follow it...