Did you catch some of the calendars for the New Year? Besides all the beautiful landscape, travel, personality, inspirational quotes and scripture calendars, I saw:
- A Slim Dog Life calendar (I thought it was a doggie diet calendar, but it’s really adorable greyhound drawings for each month)
- A Camel calendar called “Shadows in the Sand” with photos of camels in the desert
- A Geocaching calendar
- A “Year of Squirrels” calendar (with a Squirrel crossing on the cover)
- A “Not So Humble Pi” calendar (with math cartoons)
- A “Whatever” calendar
- A “Brains – 25 cents” calendar (actually, filled with weird signs from across America)
- A Sock Monkey calendar, and
- A hilarious “Failed Prototypes” calendar (inventions that didn’t make the cut … like a light bulb with a candle inside, a calculator with an abacus on the front, and a cell phone with all the gadgets from a Swiss Army Knife attached)
So many funny ones. (Other calendars I saw were trash. Nasty. A waste of paper.)
I ended up buying a calendar with inspirational quotes for one room, and a scripture calendar for another. As I write this, I look over one of my new “filled in” calendars and realize how easy it is to cram full our days with meetings, tasks, responsibilities, events – things we love to do and things we must do – and not to plan in time for God or His good gift of rest. There’s Sunday, of course, and other church-related gatherings. But God wants more of our time. It’s all His anyway. The Psalmist said, “Hour by hour I place my days in your hand…” (Psalm 31:15, The Message).
One of the ways we “redeem the time” (Ephesians 5:16) is to spend it wisely. We plan for times for work, ministry, God and family, but some of us don’t plan enough time for rest and renewal. I know I don’t. And it’s pretty obvious when I’ve reached my limit.
I long for quiet times of retreat, don’t you? As I look over the busyness of my life – the things ahead beyond my control as well as activity choices I’ve made – I sense God saying, “Plan times to come apart with Me, because I care about you and I don’t want you to fall apart.”
God doesn’t want us to “overdo” and stretch our labors in “anxious toil;” He gives the blessing of sleep to His beloved children (Psalm 127:2) – even though we may have some sleepless nights. But in our culture (or maybe, because some of us have Type A personalities), busyness is the norm. More than ever, we need to cultivate times of rest…. times of quietness … times of meditation with God.
So … I’ll be speaking in workshops in early March at a conference center, and I plan to take some time in between those workshops to “get away.” But I also need planned “retreat days” too. One definition of the word retreat is, “a period of seclusion, retirement or solitude, especially to pray, meditate, or study.” In military terms, it’s a time of falling back … a time to regroup and rethink before entering the battle again.
God spoke to my heart today: “You are in a battle. You are serving me today with eternity in mind and leading others to do the same. You desperately need times to retreat so you won’t burn out in the battle.”
Is God saying that to you too?
Let’s seek God together this year and be sensitive to His voice – especially when He says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
Let’s circle some special days on our calendar just for Him.