This past week I attended a 3-day ‘Space for God’ retreat put on by my friends at Soul Formation. It was a powerful time for me to “withdraw” from the crowds and seek God through extended time in His Word, solitude, fasting and community. There would be much to share and I’ve exhausted pages and pages in my journal. Most I’ll hold deep in my heart with Jesus. I will, however, share a few ideas, thoughts and learnings that I’m processing and would love to have your feedback on.
Have you ever noticed what happens when stepping “out of context” or getting out of the everyday ordinary of life? It’s called, perspective.
Perspective forced its way in as my plane left the ground from John Wayne Airport. The sun was setting over Catalina, we quickly left the worries of work, traffic, weather and the TSA behind us as we headed out over the Pacific. Baseball games under the lights turned to wild green carpets, the sky tinged orange.
Clutter drops away – the moon becomes clear, unobstructed…and majestically HUGE! Pespective!
I need this perspective of God. Too often I see the moon sitting in the sky, but it’s dimmed by the haze of my hurrying. I needed to gain perspective on the moon governing the night (Psalm 136:9). Much perspective comes from 3 days of retreat. Here are two learnings that brought me perspective:
Nothing brings perspective like love. No love compares to the love of God. Imagine for a minute how God feels about you. Do you know that God loves you? Do you know that God really likes you? Do you know that He sent His son to the cross for you? All of this so we might be able to enter into a beautiful love relationship with God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit. A relationship that has existed in love for all of time.
Whew! That’s incomprehensible…and exactly the point. Who wants a love that is explainable, palatable, diagramable; plain. God’s love is beyond. Love is not something God does, God is love.
A good friend and mentor of mine, Morris Dirks, recently preached a message called “God is Love” and inspired this thinking. You can download the MP3 here. The question I’ve been asking myself is “What would be different if I fully embraced the love of God?”
Ephesians 3:18-20 in The Message reads, “And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.”
There’s a rapidly growing movement toward spiritual formation and the disciplines or practices of following Christ. In reality everyone of us who believe in Jesus and have entered into that love relationship with the Trinity ‘practice’ our spiritual lives. We pray, live in community, seek to be obedient, make disciples, read God’s Word and more.
But, if I’m honest – sometimes all of this can seem like another ‘To Do’ list rather than flowing out of my love for God. That’s where solitude comes in. It seems that solitude may be the foundational practice in our walk with Jesus. Just think about it; I want an intimate relationship with my wife, so I make sure we get alone time. The same is true of family and friends.
The same should be true of you and Jesus. How else can we claim with the Psalmist, “Oh Lord, you have searched me and known me…search me, O God, and know my heart!” I’m committed to seek solitude in my ordinary life, and it always brings perspective. Take some solitude time today to remember the depths of God’s love for you.
What brings you perspective?