Being able to take a time-out, to catch our breath, or to simply sit and smell the flowers—to listen to natural sounds and to let our minds go “free”—just doesn’t happen much anymore.
I can still remember, as a child, riding my bicycle through the neighborhood in the evening when there were always people sitting or swinging on their porches or in their yard. It was part of their ritual at the end of the day. Sitting or simply swinging—taking a time-out—to listen to the quietness or to watch the shadows lengthening toward supper time. It was their time to relax, to enjoy the moments, in stillness and silence.
We can say what we want about the “busyness” and “fullness” of life, today. Yet, there are many like me who will not be convinced that our lives, today, are better or more complete than they used to be. The fact is, our lives today are often missing the important ingredients that used to make life worth living.
In this regard, Jesus Christ set a great example for us.
In a short span of time, His fame grew. He went to and fro teaching, preaching and healing. Even so, He was wise enough to find some private time for Himself to pray and find solitude, to reflect on His faith in God and the reason why He was on the earth. Scripture describes, “However, the report went around concerning Him all the more; great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. So, He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed” (Luke 5:15-16).
As Scripture shows us in several places, Christ knew the value of taking a “time-out” from the business of the day, to spend some alone time to pray and meditate.
In today’s world, going to and fro and “doing and doing and doing” is a given. We seem to jump from one activity to another. We eat on the run, we work on the run, we do recreation on the run—taking no time to stop. No time to just sit. To listen. To feel. To search our hearts. Yet, Jesus often spent time doing exactly that.
People around us continue to gear up for a faster way of living, to get things done. But are they happy? No. Most would have to admit that their lives are empty, over-laden with work with no time for themselves.
My advice: find a porch or a lawn chair and sit. Turn off all electronic devices, including the television. Put the music boxes away and go outside, find a chair or a swing and settle in a place of solitude. Hear yourself breathe as you listen to the wind whistle through the trees or dance across the open ground. Do as Jesus Christ did. And do it often.
Jesus said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest. For My yoke is easy and My burden light” (Matthew 11:28-29).
A balanced outlook on life is one that is not always in a hurry to go to a particular place and do some structured activity. Take time to appreciate the sounds of solitude. For more on finding balance in your Christian life, read our article, “Are You Walking in the Footsteps of Christ?”