Medical experts tell us that stress – be it good or bad, has the same effect on the body. It wears us down, raises blood pressure, decreases our ability to perform our daily tasks. But here is the interesting thing about stress. The body is unable to tell the source of the stress – whether it comes from achievement and positive experiences – the so called ‘good stress’ or failure and negative experiences. Regardless where it comes from, stress is not good for the body or for the soul.
Though the gospels are neither medical nor psychological documents, it seems that Jesus was pretty intuitive about recognizing stress. This is the good kind. The disciples have just returned from their first mission trips – and they are telling all the success stories and the demons cast out and good news preached. Good stress or not, the master recognizes its effects on the disciples. Let’s get away. Time to recharge the batteries. The gospel describes the scene – people coming and going in great numbers. It doesn’t take much to imagine the scene, because our lives are just like that – busy, coming and going from one fun or not so fun summer activity to the next… Time to get away.
However, things don’t go as Jesus hoped. They must have been cutting a corner of the Sea of Galilee (it’s not that big) People see where they are headed – start heading them off at the pass. It wouldn’t be hard from the boat to see the crowd following on foot along the shore. Watch what happens – Jesus gets there, as sees the crowd – and his heart was moved to pity and instead of the REST and QUIET he was hoping for – he throws himself right back into ministry. HOW does he do that?
In my prayer – I see Jesus seeing the crowd heading to where he was going. He looks at the distance, the disciples rowing, the wind and thinks: “I’ve got 18 minutes. 18 minutes.” So he closes his eyes and in the calm of breeze blowing off the lake, and the gentle sounds of the oars pulling the water, he centers himself in his Father’s presence. IN those 18 minutes, he finds that space within that stays willing. He finds the source of the “YES” that he said to his Father – I’ll shepherd after your heart. And that short time is all he needs to let the stress go. Finding that center, he can get off the boat and start again.
What recharges you? What allows life to FLOW FROM YOU instead of happen to you? Sometimes, it is a vacation – like the one I just returned from. I don’t remember believing that I needed one so badly in a while. golf was just the thing I needed to recreate my spirit.
What recharges you? Sometimes we have the luxury of vacation. But most of the time, our lives are like Jesus on the boat. We have 10 to 12 – maybe 15 minutes of time to pull it together. Jesus had no hesitation to make sure he and his disciples had the space to be recreated. In the midst of ‘people coming and going in great numbers’ – he said – We’re out of here.
Perhaps it is a trip to Ted Drewes.
5 min cat nap.
dinner with a spouse away from the kids,
Conversation with a good friend.
Extra time over a second cup of coffee in the morning.
Whatever it is, give yourself permission to step away from the work to find that YES that stays willing, that center that is so rooted in God, that it only takes a moment of living in that space to make you whole again…
What recharges you? Whatever it is, spend some time this week doing that – so that when the boat of your life hits that busy shore, like Jesus, you can look out over the family, the workplace, the meeting, the church gathering, and roll up the sleeves – put me in Lord, I’m ready to go…