So our journey has begun! Yes, we are off to a slow start, but a start nonetheless! The Lord has laid it on my heart to get back to the basics in my Christian walk and we are just warming up with the discipline of creating space in our lives for time with the Lord.
In my last post, I mentioned three principles:
We covered the first two in Monday’s post HERE. If you missed it, you may want to read that one before continuing below. Today we are going to address the 3rd principle:
Leave space in your schedule.
Learning to leave space in my schedule is definitely the hardest principle for me to apply. The demands on my time are great. We all have demands that feel impossible to say “no” to, but part of that is because we haven’t been taught that “no” is okay (and even good sometimes!).
Jesus frequently said “no” for the purpose of getting alone with the Father. Luke 5:16 tells us that he often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. Sometimes He withdrew by Himself and sometimes He withdrew with His closest disciples. Similarly, sometimes we need to get alone with the Lord and sometimes we need to shut out the outside world for a bit and get alone with those closest to us – maybe our spouse, family, or a Bible study small group.
It is important to note, too, that often when Jesus “withdrew”, the next words we read are “the crowds followed”. (See Matthew 12:15, Matthew 14:13, and Mark 3:7 for a few examples) Jesus knew how to balance the demands on His time perfectly.
Sometimes He laid aside His own physical and emotional needs and had compassion on the crowds. He put their needs above His own and trusted His Heavenly Father to provide all that was necessary for Him to press on and continue to serve. We can see this example in Matthew, chapter 14. Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist, had just been beheaded. Jesus and His disciples are heavy of heart and looking forward to time alone together. When the crowds pressed in, Jesus saw that they were hungry, both physically and spiritually, and He filled them up with one of His most well-known miracles, the feeding of the five thousand.
But in other examples, we see Jesus stepping out of the public ministry and refueling with His Father or pouring privately into those in His inner circle. At times Jesus went to great lengths to protect that need to withdraw – even escaping to the middle of a lake in a storm! Read Matthew 8:18-27 and Mark 3:7-9 for a couple such examples.
So practically speaking, how can we follow Jesus’ example?
The key as I see it is staying connected with the Father.
Because Jesus was in constant communion with the Father, He had a perfect understanding of His priorities and He put first things first. In other words, the more we create space in our lives for time with the Lord, the better we will understand God’s call and His priorities. The more we understand His call and His priorities, the more we will successfully make choices to leave space in our schedule. And, (if you are still following this line of thinking!) the more we can leave space in our schedule, the more space we will have created in our lives for time with the Lord! The cycle repeats! Like a snowball rolling downhill, we grow and pick up steam each time we meet with the Lord in worship, Bible study, and prayer.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5 NIV)
Before I close my laptop for the night, let me point out that my wording in the title of this post is very purposeful. When it comes to your calendar, it is a whole lot easier to leave space in your schedule than to create it. What I mean by that is if you try to create space once your schedule is already jam-packed, it’s like trying to corral an ant farm once it has been let loose. Good luck!
This is a great time of year to be thinking about our schedules and preemptively leaving that space before the fall approaches, new commitments are made, and the calendar is full!
I want to know your thoughts! Any practical tips on leaving space in your weekly schedule? Leave a comment below!
I’ll be covering one of the ways I’ve worked to leave space in my family’s schedule in my next post. I hope you’ll join me then! Looking forward to meeting with you again at the throne of grace!