Wrestling with an uneasy feeling in the depths of my soul, I cried out to God again. “What do You want me to do?”
I knew that my priorities were off balance, but it was overwhelming to consider the work of fixing the brokenness.
“What do I need to do to be free, Lord?”
On a summer eve, He finally answered me.
“Come to Me, Sarah. Spend time with Me. Leave the distractions behind. What is keeping you for Me?”
But leaving the distractions is easier said than done. I wanted to run after Jesus, but I was a bit afraid of what others might think. I knew that what Jesus was asking of me was to let go of the busy work that filled my days but that was interfering with my relationship with Him and my family.
We all have those things in our lives that might be objectively good but that might be getting in the way of God’s will when we give them too much time, attention, and importance.
Stepping back from volunteer work at your child’s school, for example, might invite some raised eyebrows from other parents. But if that volunteer work keeps you away from your prayer life and your family, then, yes, it might be time to take a break.
Remember when Jesus invites the rich man to follow Him? He knew he was doing good work, but “there [was] still one thing lacking. Sell all that you own and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” (Luke 18:22)
The rich man couldn’t do it, and it made him sad.
What did I still need to abandon in order to answer Jesus’ invitation?
After months of hearing Jesus’ invitation to spend time with Him, I finally realized how desperately I needed Him and His healing and rest.
In Isaiah 55, the Lord invites “everyone who thirsts, come to the waters.” (Isaiah 55:1)
For me, those waters are prayer, the sacraments, Scripture, everything that fills me up on Jesus. So why do I go to anything and everything but Him?
He even asks this directly later in the passage: “Why do you spend your money for that which … does not satisfy?” (v. 2)
It was true. I turned to everything except God—social media, Starbucks, shopping, decluttering my house, volunteer work. No wonder I was so uneasy and fatigued! It’s as if I heard Jesus saying, “Trying to do it all has left you empty and exhausted. You are running on mere fumes. Come to me, that your soul may live.”
Yes, I was indeed running on empty. My body was begging me to pay attention to the flare-ups of inflammation running through it. My mind was foggy and tired. And my soul, well, it resembled a dry, cracked cistern. My entire being needed the restorative hydration from the life-giving waters of Christ.
Deciding to accept His invitation immediately gave me an incredible amount of freedom. But with anything, change takes time, and even the Lord reminded me that healing would take awhile. In other words, He was not planning on giving me the drive-thru treatment.
I am still very much in need of rest and restoration. I am nowhere near whole again, and at times, I slip back into the busy state of mind that got me into trouble in the first place. But God is so good and so merciful! Even the smallest step forward delights Him.
Is there something standing in the way of you running to God with abandon? How can you find the courage to let go of the distractions in order to follow Him more closely?