I get it. You're busy. You're juggling a million things and there is just no possible way you can get away to rest and restore you. In today's world, people wear the title of busy like a badge of honor. If you aren't busy, it's almost frowned upon. Since when did life get so limited on time that a person cannot even full on stop at a STOP SIGN for heaven sake? I am just as guilty as you. But I did something amazing this past weekend. I put all other excuses aside, and I made time for rest. Let me just tell you how many amazing benefits came from just a few days away.
I didn't necessarily take a weekend getaway by choice, but more less by force. You see, for the past 2 years I have been too busy. Too busy to cook healthy dinners for my family. Too busy to make date night with my husband a priority. Too busy to exercise five days per week. Too busy to enjoy time with my girlfriends. Too busy to get away and refresh my soul. Too busy for quiet time with Jesus. Although I know just how important all of these things are, I have been too busy.
My lack of time (or I should say lack of making time) left my life in a state of complete chaos, left me absolutely needing to get away just to even think straight. My lack of time to care for my health has left me still carrying 15 pounds of pregnancy weight, not fitting into my jeans, feeling sluggish and tired, and lacking self-confidence in my own skin. My lack of time to care for my marriage has left us both feeling quite angry and in a place filled with heartbreak. My lack of time to spend with my girlfriends has left me feeling utterly alone throughout this difficult season of life. My lack of time to get away and just hear from God has left everything turned upside down.
Time. I say lack of making time, because we all have the same amount of it. 24 hours in a day. That has never changed and never will. Some people constantly choose to make time for what is important. These small little choices daily, like fruit over chips, or walking over driving to the mailbox, eventually will reveal themselves in our lives. Years ago, they still had the same amount of time in the day. But those hours were often filled differently. Dinners at the table with friends and family has now turned into eating in the car. Sitting on the front porch with a friend has now turned into scrolling through Facebook comparing your life to your so called friends. Throwing baseball in the back yard has now turned into every single member of the family starring at their own separate technology devices. Our time gets filled with all of these things, and the important things get pushed to the side. Sure, time is limited. But we have to consciously make the choice to decide how we use that time. We choose what we consider important and that will eventually show in our lives.
Often though, like me, our life situation gets so unbearable that we have to start focusing on the important things. It's no longer a choice. It's a must. That is what led me to a weekend getaway. I decided to get away for a few days and just clear my head. I desperately needed some soul care. I needed to dig deep and remind myself who Erica really is. I got in the car and just drove. I ended up 4 hours away at the closest thing I could find to a beach in Indiana, Duneland Beach. It's beautiful by the way. If you, like me, need the ocean in your life but are stuck around corn fields, you need to visit Duneland Beach near Michigan City. God revealed SO much to me in just a few days away.
"Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while." Mark 6:31. The Bible is very clear that we need time away from the chaos of life to rest a while. Even Jesus himself got away from the crowd to spend some alone time with God. Maybe your season of life involves a bunch of little ones and you are not able to get away for an entire weekend. You still have to find just a little bit of quiet time. If that means during the kids naps, then do it. Who cares that the laundry needs folded. I have cleaned house every nap time for the past 1 1/2 years and totally ignored my soul. Guess what? The house still needs cleaned, but more desperately my soul still needs cared for.
Life can be so loud. We can feel so defeated. So drained. So lost. So confused. I felt all of this last week. It reminds me of Elijah in 1 Kings. He went away to the mountain and there was a huge wind, but God wasn't in the wind. Then there was a huge earthquake, but God wasn't in the earthquake. Then there was a huge fire, but God wasn't in the fire. But then, a still small voice. We look for answers in the middle of our mess, when God is just waiting for us to get away and listen to that still small voice. When I took some time to get away, I realized all the opinions of everyone else were drowning out what God wanted me to hear. He reminded me of all the things I once used to love. He reminded me that it's alright to focus on me some. He reminded me that my soul needs that. He reminded me that I can't control other people's choices or feelings, only my own. He reminded me that I need to focus on being the best me that I can be, because this world needs my best me. But more than anything else, He reminded me that when everything else in life seems to be crumbling around me, He will never leave me alone. He will never forsake me. And He needs to be my number one focus, no matter how busy, no matter how much time is limited.
When was the last time you did something just for you? When was the last time you escaped for an afternoon, a day, or even a weekend by yourself? When was the last time you allowed your soul to get the rest and rejuvenation we are wired to need? When was the last time you escaped just long enough for God to whisper to you with His still small voice? Even if you can't escape right now, I encourage you to try something this week. Pay attention to how many times you say "I'm so busy" or "I don't have time right now". If your kids are always asking you to play and you constantly respond with "I have too much to get done", this may be an indicator that you need to cut out some unimportant things (like social media for example) and add in the most important things (like playing with your kids).