Sunday, February 18, 2018

Withdraw to Connect

What Jesus teaches us about time alone
A guest post from Kimberlie Kessler

One of the biggest challenges for me these days is taking time—without feeling guilty—to be alone. I struggle with the idea that I need to be constantly “doing” because simply “being” seems not enough and feels lazy. 

Recently I was convicted of the absolute necessity of quiet time. Not alone, nap time (though that surely has value), but alone time with Jesus. I was talking to my kids about the importance of making time for Him and was reminded of this repeatedly in my own quiet time and readings.

Irony? Coincidence? 

No. God doesn’t work in coincidence but rather according to His design and perfect plan. Jesus wants to be connected with us, and my kids weren’t the only ones needing that reminder. I’m often slow on the uptake, so it takes a repetitive and proverbial “beating over the head” for me to put conviction to action. 

There are many ways to describe Jesus, one being a role model. He practiced what He preached, and often His “preaching” was not with words but rather by His actions. This is true as it relates to prayer, solitary communication with the Father. There is much to say about this topic. However, I’m going to highlight the key points that have helped me, and perhaps you will also be encouraged. 

* Jesus withdrew after service.                  

How often have you felt overwhelming gratification for being able to be a part of something wonderful, yet simultaneously depleted of your physical, emotional and spiritual energy? Throughout the gospels we read that Jesus left the crowds and spent time alone, demonstrating the value and necessity in “regrouping” after serving. He sent the disciples their own way, and He went alone to be with His Father.

Replenish, rest, give thanks, and prepare for what is next. (Matthew 14:22-23, Luke 5:16, Mark 6:31-32)

* Jesus withdrew during sadness and conflict. 

A challenge we face is when we feel less popular because of our beliefs. Our posts on social media don’t get “liked and shared” like others, we aren’t included in outings, and feel persecuted for our beliefs. We struggle with obedience over acceptance, causing inner conflict. Our world is broken and often a very lonely place.

From the time of his birth, many people tried to kill Jesus and his followers because he taught that he was the Son of God. Many felt He was a fake, imposter, or false prophet. He knew the truth and continued to do the Father’s work, but again demonstrated the importance of prayerful connection with Him for strength and endurance. (Luke 6:12, Matthew 14:13a)

*Jesus withdrew when facing “Go Time.”

Oh boy. This one hits home for me, maybe more than the rest. Do you know that feeling when God has absolutely made it clear that the time is NOW for you to move on the calling you've been given? The fear, the uncertainty of the future, your own abilities, of failure ... it’s nearly paralyzing, right?

Jesus knew (before even coming to Earth) that the purpose of His birth, was to be crucified and rise again. He knew the torture He would endure, the sadness and isolation He would feel, and yet He obediently came anyway. To endure, to love, to teach, serve, and save. He knew the future, and still did what was asked of Him because He loved the Father, and because He loved us.                 

This act of love and obedience required significant time alone with the Father, right up till the moment of “now” arrived. (Mark 14:32-41, Luke 23:46)

Our lives are full of distractions and chaos. Some glorious, some benign, others destructive. However, even the most beautiful distractions can become disastrous to our “human” connections if we are not careful. None of our relationships grow or thrive without our intentional devotion to the person, setting aside time to connect, listen, share. 

The same is true of our relationship with God. If we don’t take time to be alone with the One who gives us our very breath, to talk with Him and legitimately be still, we will fall to being led by our feelings rather than our Father. Our challenges, celebrations and conflicts are all opportunities for us to share our hurts and joys honestly with Him, thank and praise Him. All leading us to a closer, deeper, stronger relationship with Him. Our Daddy-God wants to hear from us, His children, and we need alone time with Him. Our ability to endure and succeed in our conflicts and callings depend on it.    


A huge thank you from Sara Nelson O'Brien to her dear friend and today's guest blogger: 

Kimberlie Kessler 

Kimberlie is a: Momma. Nurse. Life & Jesus lover. Java junkie. Founder of Soul2soulsister, and owner of Advoc-Conn, Inc.

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