Do you ever wonder why Jesus’ favorite recreational activity was to go either to a deserted place or to the mountains?
Leaders need times of solitude. We need transcendent moments to remind us that our problems and challenges are not bigger than God.
This truth came home to me a few years ago. Former members of our church invited our family to spend a day at their home located near a breathtaking lake.
I was in the middle of a very stressful time in the church—many meetings, staff conflicts, budget deficits, personal pressures.
My wife was convinced we should go, but I wanted to stay home and have my private pity party.
She pushed. We accepted the invitation and traveled the fifty-five miles to see our friends. Was I glad I took their offer!
Their spacious home was situated on close to an acre of land next to a large lake. Entering the area where they lived was like stepping into a soundproof zone.
We no longer heard the white noise of the highway; all we heard were birds singing to their Maker, the gentle wind pushing and pulling the leaves on the trees.
After lunch, our hosts took us down to the lake and showed us how to kayak. I had never done this before, but after a few missteps, I began to understand the rhythm of kayaking. I learned how to efficiently move my paddle from side to side; moving forward, backward, turning.
What initially felt like a chore quickly became delight. I confidently pushed out into the middle of the lake, and it was only when I was in the middle of the lake that I realized the enormity of this body of water.
Way back on shore I could see my family, they were waving and calling out to me, but I was so far from them I could not hear a single word. And then I stopped rowing and quietly sat in the middle of the lake.
This is a moment I will never forget. In the middle of the vast lake, I felt small, insignificant, and my worries seemed small. I realized at that moment my problems, my concerns, fears, and desires were as nothing in the middle of this enormous body of water.
My thoughts turned to Christ and his power to walk on water; his authority to speak to the wind and the waves roiling and threatening his disciples on the Sea of Galilee. His fearful disciples were convinced death was imminent, so they shook him from his peaceful sleep.
Lord, do you not care that we perish? Jesus first said to them? Why are you afraid? O you of little faith. Then he stood up and spoke to the wind and the waves and it became still. (See Matthew 8: 23-27)
Thankfully, I was not in a literal storm that day. The lake was like a plate of glass except for a few slight undulating waves. But my inner life was in turmoil, and I knew at that moment Christ was not just with me, and that everything would be fine, but Christ was greater than all the storms I was facing and I did not need to be captured by fear.
At that moment my giant sized challenges were eclipsed by the magnitude of the lake. The chaos of my inner life was recalibrated from feverish, fretful pursuits, to peace, stillness, rest, faith, and renewal in the presence and power of God.
I hope you have a place where you go and experience God. I hope you have a place where you can resize your challenges before the greatness of God. Failure to find these transcendent moments leave us thinking it’s all up to us. It never is.
Where do you go to reset your inner life?