GASP! Now, before you think that Jeremy and I are packing our bags and leaving the desert, just pause and wait for where this is going. And keep reading.
I spent this past weekend at a retreat for women in leadership. About twenty women of all ages, from different walks of life, and unique places in ministry came together for twenty hours to push pause on the daily demands and to quiet the noise in our lives. We silenced our phones and our hearts to sit at the feet of Jesus. We wanted to hear His voice. We were after His presence. We needed to create space. In the different circles of influence that each of us exist, I believe we had found that our own voices had become the loudest in our lives, and we were determined to hear God speak to us once again. And He did. He met with us. He dined with us. As we chose to remove the distractions and position ourselves to hear, He spoke loud and clear.
Twenty hours isn’t a long time. It’s not even one full day. It flew by faster than most of us would have wanted. However, it was long enough to be reminded of the importance and even the necessity of solitude and the pursuit of His presence.
“Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for Him.” – Psalm 37:7a
But, if we’re really honest with ourselves, how often do we actually do this? When is the last time that you pursued Christ in silence, listening more than you spoke, desperate to hear God’s voice? Was there ever a time in your life that you were so desperate to be in God’s presence that you quieted yourself and waited as long as necessary to truly experience fellowship with the Lord? Not responding to every vibration of your phone, texts, emails, notifications – refusing to permit distractions, and remaining in that quiet place until His voice was the loudest one you could hear. I wonder, when was the last time that you tasted and saw the goodness of the Lord because you waited for and prioritized it above all else?
Walking away from my twenty hours of retreat, I found myself convinced of one thing.
God invites me to rest.
Rarely, do I give myself full permission to do so, but the Lord beckons me. He invites me back to the one place where my soul is restored. He requires it so that my outpouring is the overflow of my filling that can only come from Him.
In His presence.
And so, I’m moving. I’m moving away from the “busyness” that our culture has glorified as some form of success, and I’m moving back to where the Lord is calling me: to a renewed intimacy with Jesus Christ. Fullness of joy and purpose is not found in all of the “pouring out” that leadership requires. It is found in God’s presence. It is found in seeking Him because I love Him, not because I’m desperate for Him to give me what I need. And in all of the “pouring out” in which we engage, whether in our jobs, homes, or relationships, have we forgotten where it is that we are to bring our cups to be filled? Do we keep lifting our empty cups to those around us, expecting others to meet our emotional and spiritual needs? Or are we raising our empty cups to the One who created us with a need that could only be met in Him?
I’m moving back to the river, the river of God, and I’m immersing my cup in its flow.