Thursday, February 17, 2011

Taking time for yourself

 Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. The Jewish Passover Festival was near.
 When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip,“Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.
 Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”
 Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”
 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there).  Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.
 When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.
  After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.”  Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.
John 6:1-15

This is a familiar Bible story, isn't it?  We often focus on the miracle of Jesus feeding 5,000 plus more people with five loaves of bread and two fish.  It was, indeed, a miracle.

But the part of this story that I'd like to focus on today is the very last verse:  "Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him a king by force, withdrew AGAIN to a mountain by himself."    This isn't the only instance of Jesus withdrawing himself from the crowds and His disciples.  Here's some more instances:
  • Matthew 14:23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone...
  • Mark 1:35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
  • Luke 6:12 One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.
As mothers, we spend our days tending to a lot of things.  We make sure the children are fed and clothed, and off to school.  We do the laundry.  We cook the meals.  We clean the house.  We drive here and there, picking up and dropping off.  We are busy, all the time.  And it can get exhausting, can't it?  

This is where we can all take a lesson from Jesus himself.  He took time, even though He was insanely busy, to withdraw himself from everything and take time to pray.  It was key to not only his physical life, but his spiritual life as well that he took time to himself to be with His Father.

How many of us take that time?  As a mom, it's so easy to take care of everyone around us, and forget about ourselves.  After a long time of doing this, though, it can be detrimental to our own well-being.  It's important for us, no matter what time of day, to step away from the day-to-day and take some time for ourselves.  We are no good as mothers if we don't take care of ourselves.  I'm sure, too, that Jesus knew He was no good to anyone around Him if he didn't take that time by Himself to pray.  

I encourage you, whether it's 5 minutes or 50 minutes, to take some time for yourself each day.  Use that time to read the Bible, to pray, to just sit down and think for a few minutes.  Take a lesson from our Lord--it is good for you.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending your Son for us.  Help us to remember, as Jesus did, to take time for ourselves each day.  Keep us connected to you and your love.  Help us to not only take care of our families, but ourselves, too.  In Your name we pray, Amen.

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