Yesterday's sermon was on the third ingredient for keeping God's fire in our soul alive and well. Oxygen. Here are some of the thoughts we went through as we discussed how to make space in our lives for God to speak, to guide, to fill, and to refresh us.
Most of us live life at a pace our souls can’t keep up with.
“The only problem with success is that the formula for achieving it is the same as the formula for a nervous breakdown.” Charles Swindoll
“The pace of the modern world accentuates our sense of being fractured and fragmented. We feel strained, hurried, breathless. The complexity of rushing to achieve and accumulate more and more frequently threatens to overwhelm us; it seems that there is no escape from the rat race.” Richard Foster
What does this do to our souls? Leaves us discouraged, tired, exhausted, worn out, burnt out (like a lamp), lost, confused, dazed, on edge, rushed, stressed…you can’t keep a fire alive in that! It’s suffocating our spiritual fires.
“God never guides us into an intolerable scramble of panting feverishness…We have hints that there is a way of life vastly richer and deeper than all this hurried existence, a life of unhurried serenity and peace and power. If only we could slip over into that Center!” – Thomas Kelly
So what’s the answer? Jesus guides us into a very different way of life that allows room for our souls to breathe.
Mat 11:28-30 "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me--watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."
What we need is to simplify our lives so that we can simply live.
“The truth is, as much as we complain about it. We are drawn to hurry. It makes us feel important. It keeps the adrenaline pumping. It means we don’t have to look too closely at the heart or life. It keeps us from feeling our loneliness.” – Ortberg
Jesus was extremely focused, had a mission, tons of work to do and yet was calm, had space for His soul to be refreshed and alive, how?
Luke 5:16 “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”
“It is the space between the notes that makes the music.” Noah Benshea
Psalm 119:114 You're my place of quiet retreat; I wait for your Word to renew me."
Psalm 23 in a busy world:
The clock is my dictator; I shall not rest.
It makes me lie down only when exhausted.
It leads me to depression.
It hounds my soul.
It leads me in circles of frenzy for activity's sake
Even though I run frantically from task to task
I will never get it all done, for my "ideal" is with me.
Deadlines and my need for approval, they drive me.
They demand my performance from me
beyond the limits of my schedule.
They anoint my head with migraines.
My in-basket overflows.
Surely fatigue and time pressure shall follow me all the days of my life. And I will dwell in the bonds of frustration forever.
Our lives are like most people's garages. They were made for cars, but end up too filled with stuff to fit the cars in anymore. We were made for people, for relationships, and most of all for God…but our lives get so full of stuff we have no room for what we were made for anymore. We have overcrowded souls.
We need solitude with God so that we have space to listen, space to plan, space to play, and space to rest.
“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16