“But he withdrew himself in the deserts and prayed.” Luke 5:16 ERV
“Choose your absence so that your presence will have more impact.” — Emily P. Freeman
Sometimes I withdraw to breathe. Sometimes I withdraw to cry. Sometimes I withdraw to play! Sometimes I withdraw to meditate and pray. These are healthy and growth-enhancing times—not isolation. It’s a positive choice. I can tell because when I rejoin life, I participate in life more fully. I have more to give. I don’t compare myself with others. I have spiritual, emotional and physical energy. That’s presence.
Isolation is not life-enhancing. Isolation is not living fully. It’s a compulsion. The presence, when with others, is like Eeyore, the depressed donkey of Winnie-the-Pooh fame. It’s a thundercloud and blocks the sun. Our light goes out.
What are some of the things we need to withdraw from?
Obviously, an addiction. Toxic people. Social media. Take a break from the news. Most of all, that nagging, parental voice in your head that seems to always condemn. That’s not our Father.
When we withdraw and place our focus on our Father, word, prayer, creativity, even play, we are filled. There’s a quote I love: “Even prophets and saints need a distraction.” In Ecclesiastes it says, “And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.”
Do we strive too much, work too much? Do we forget to enjoy our family meal? A board game with the family? Many I know, and I’ve done the same, work harder at going on vacation than at their career! There’s nothing wrong, in fact it’s good, to withdraw and enjoy our families with fun! Play! Humor!
And then we have a presence that nourishes others and ourselves.
We all, even Jesus, need time alone to reflect, pray and play. We are not “human-doings!” Our world reaffirms that we must do more, be more, try harder, when we need to withdraw ourselves. Count our blessings one by one, as the song says. Meditate on all our Father has done and is doing in our lives. Enjoy to the maximum the gifts we have from our Father. Sometimes being happy with what we have is an excellent expression of gratefulness. I know when I give a gift and the receiver is tickled, that’s the best thanks ever!
Thank you for all the gifts you give us. They’re too numerous to name! There’s nature, your son, others in our lives, our careers, our homes and a time to play and laugh. Remind us we are children. Your children. Absence is a time to relish you and enjoy the gifts you’ve given us and restore our souls.