I don’t know about you, but Christmas is always a little hard on my soul. I love having family around, watching Christmas movies, great meals, getting presents for my wife and kids that I KNOW they will love. But spiritually and emotionally, at a deep level, I am usually very depleted.
It could be the busyness of the “season”, simply the end of a full-on year of life, battle with the secularization of Christmas, spiritual warfare or unrealistic expectations. Whatever the cause, the effect is what I want to reverse.
Somewhere between Christmas and New Years, I told a few friends that I intended to take a couple of days alone with God to replenish and reorient. As I had hoped, these friends have been asking me when and where I was going to do this. So, tomorrow I will be going to a lodge / retreat center offered to me for this very purpose.
Last August I recorded a video-blog on my time alone with God on my birthday titled, Take Another Look. I think birthdays are a great time to recount our life’s story and New Years is a great time to recount our length of days.
I have always been stuck by Moses statement, “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12) There is certain type of focus, intentionality and perspective that we gain when we understand the capacity or quantity of our life.
Christmas Eve, Leigh gives each family member a book. This year, Leigh gave me a book by Charles Spurgeon, Power Over Satan.
Spurgeon wrote, “Among men there are some who know a great many important matters but act as if they do not know them. Their knowledge is so much wasted heaped up in the storeroom of their minds and never brought into the workshop to be used for practical purposes…we are not as earnest as dying men ought to be.”
He goes on to say how Satan is aware of his shortness of time in both this world and in a person’s life therefore “his evil nature is all on fire, and his excitement is terrible.” And, “how much the shortness of our time ought to stir our hearts…to ardency of love and fervency of zeal…in our days of sojourning here!”
Bringing into the workshop what God has shown me; becoming more earnest with who I am; stirring the fire in my redeemed heart. This is what I’m getting away for.
Here a few of the questions I’m taking to God in my time away:
What is it that you have put in me that I am not fully walking in and offering?
What parts of my life are not fully awake, alive and free?
What is the season that I am coming into?
What am I lacking at this point that I will need for this coming season?
Where I’m I still living out of duty, obligation, expectations, guilt, shame or pressure instead of love, generosity, grace and passion?
What have you put on my heart that it’s time has come?
How am I to walk with others differently?
Are their things in my life that are not to be brought into this next season?
What have you revealed to me that I have not picked up on, noticed, understood or embraced?
I want to encourage you to snatch some time away with God alone if you haven’t already. It may be for a few hours or a few days. It may be in your favorite coffee shop, in your car at your favorite overlook, in a hotel room or retreat center. You and God, away, alone for a longer-than-usual time is what is needed.
Stirring the fires of ardent love and fervent zeal,
Thanks for this message…something I have been conciously aware of needing this week. The questions I will take with me in my time. I always appreciate your messages.
I would love to hear how your time with God goes.
Love the video-blog. Sweet. And great questions, too.
I’m with you there on being depleted by Christmas. How did “the most wonderful time of the year” (of my childhood)become the most dreaded and stressful time of the year as an adult? Not by accident–I’m sure. Time alone with God is a good idea. I do believe I’ll follow this counsel. I think I need to seek His face to be reminded of priorities in this lifetime, assurance of His daily mercies and fulfilling physical needs, and reminding of His “unfailing love.” Thanks.
Yea, I’m finding out how common this depletion is. Let me know how your time with God went.
Thanks Gary. Great thoughts / challenges for starting a year out.
Thanks Gary. After reading “It’s Your Call”, it is good to know that even the authentic author is asking the same questions. That in of itself is encouraging.
A slow-down in my work has given me (too much?) time for those questions to surface and dog me for the past few months. The only thing certain at this point is Father’s presence and measures of affirmation whilst circumstances tell another story.
Thanks again for sharing your story in honesty and openness.
Your welcome. I’m with you Ken – stay with the fact of God’s presence and affirmation. I’m reading a book that was recommended by a friend of mine called Spiritual Rhythm: Being with Jesus every season of your soul. A very honest, well written book about the winter, spring, summer and fall seasons of the heart. I think you would like it.
I pray you get clear answers to all 9. Heck, I want to borrow those questions for myself. One of my favorite sermons has always been Spurgeon’s “The Power of Prayer”. I may need to dust it off for the yearly refreshment 🙂
Thank you. Please use the questions and let me know how went.
Getting away on a personal retreat is great way to keep our walk with the Lord renewed. You’ve raised some excellent questions to ponder. I will take them with me when I spend the next weekend at Glen Eyrie in C Springs for my annual spiritual retreat. Hope your time away truly replenishes you.
Bruce, let’s catch up after your time at the Glen. I want to hear how it went.
I aplogize for the length of this comment but a little background information is what makes God’s revelation amazing.
It is so humbling to see God at work when you don’t expect it. For a very long time I had been wanting to read John’s book “Waking the Dead”. In early September I finally started it and read it cover to cover two times. Through the second reading God brought The Noble Heart ministry across my path and I realized that you and your wife are the “Gary & Leigh” mentioned several times in the book. I am now I going through the book for a third time with the Guidebook. Well this morning I began the section on the Four Streams and the first stream being Walking with God. For some reason while reading it I remembered that you sent out an email earlier this week and I forgot to read it. I just opened it and read your blog post and am blown away that it is virtually the same encouragement about taking your questions to God and Walking with Him for wisdom and revelation. Thank you for your encouragement and for allowing me to ramble a little. There is more that I could share but it would take a while. Please accept this as encouragement that I see you walking out God’s plan for your life and that you are doing it with excellence.
It is always amazing how God will reinforce what He is saying to us through different people and channels. Thanks for sharing your story.
Thanks once again for the exhortation to get alone with God and listen!
I am entering into a new season of work that is definitely a deepening / fullfilling stage. So while I know some of the answers to certain questions you suggest asking God, I also know that He always reveals different and, or more depth to them as we humbly approach him.
I actually just completed 3 years in a journal I started at one of WAH’s bootcamps. I reviewed the pages that reveals my story over this time, and summarized at the end. This was so affirming, and encouraging knowing that God is moving me into a period of abundance in many ways. Yet, I still need to ask Him some of the questions you pose – going ever deeper.
Christopher, you have a lot of clarity and I love that you can mine your journal for gold.