Running on Empty and Refueling Our Souls

Every winter our family tries to get away somewhere for a couple of weeks (preferably to a warm destination!) just to rest, refuel, and build fun memories together before we head full swing into the intensity of a new year. Some of our most precious and memorable moments have happened on these family getaways, and I've come to deeply cherish these vacations, despite the inevitable logistical challenges that come along with such endeavors (fifteen-hour car rides with bored, whiny kiddos, getting lost in the middle of the night on our way to the condo, etc.)

We are prone to run to anything and everything but God for our rest and refreshment.

One thing I've noticed whenever I'm on vacation is the stark difference between our culture's mentality toward "rest and refueling" and Christ's. Being around vacationers reminds me how we as humans are prone to run to anything and everything but God for our rest and refreshment. Most people's idea of effective "down time" includes:

  • sun-tanning by the pool for hours
  • enjoying exotic food and drinks
  • attending spectacular shows
  • indulging in movie-marathons
  • going on shopping sprees

But during Jesus' earthly ministry, He had a different solution for finding the refreshment and refueling He needed. Yes, Jesus periodically took "time away" from the demands of the crowds and the intensity of ministry, but He didn't lounge on the beach or turn to worldly entertainment to find the rest and new strength He needed. Rather, the Bible describes several occasions when Jesus went to a mountain alone to pray or rose up early in the morning to spend time in God's presence:

"And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed" (Mark 1:35 NKJV). 

"And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray" (Mark 6:46 NKJV) 

Jesus carried more weight on His shoulders than any of us can ever even imagine. Yet He knew that the only way to gain strength for the battles He was called to fight was to spend time alone with God in prayer.

Whenever I'm in need of rest, perspective, and new strength, I'm learning to look to the example of Christ to gain the refueling I seek, instead of the example of the world.

Taking time away to refresh and refuel should flow from a motive of becoming even stronger and more equipped to serve Jesus Christ—not simply to "escape" from the responsibilities of serving and godly living.

There's nothing wrong with doing practical things in order to refuel and recharge. A long walk, a refreshing bike ride, an hour journaling outside in God's creation, an encouraging chat with a trusted friend, or a meaningful family vacation can be wonderful ways to gain clearer perspective. But it's important for me not to listen the voice that whispers, You've been working so hard; you deserve some self-indulgence right about now. You can always spend time with God later. Put your spiritual life on hold for a while and focus on YOU.

Taking time away to refresh and refuel should flow from a motive of becoming even stronger and more equipped to serve Jesus Christ—not simply to "escape" from the responsibilities of serving and godly living.

Over the past several years in ministry and motherhood, I have found that the best "me time" is actually not "me time" at all, but "God time." Prayer, journaling, worship, and reading Christian biographies produces far more lasting refreshment to my soul than vegging in front of a movie or going on a shopping spree.

It's not that watching a movie or going shopping every now and then is harmful. But when I turn to those things for peace, rest, and satisfaction, I find I'm left empty and unfulfilled. On the other hand, whenever I say "no" to personal indulgences in order to say "yes" to time in the presence of God, I never regret it. In fact, I find all of the lasting joy, peace, and strength I need in Him. Psalm 16:11 says that at God's right hand are "pleasures forevermore." May we allow that reality to be proven true in our lives. Instead of looking to the empty allurements of the world to find the refreshment we seek, may we remember that He alone is the One who can fulfill us, revive us, and meet our every need.

Time alone with our God is the truest source of refueling our souls can ever find! How can you make time to get your rest and refreshment from the Lord?"

Did you discover God’s Truth today?

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About the Author

Leslie Ludy

Leslie Ludy

Leslie Ludy is a bestselling author and speaker with a passion for helping women become set-apart for Christ. She and her husband Eric have published more than twenty books with well over a million copies in print and translations in over a dozen languages, including When God Writes Your Love Story, Authentic Beauty, and Set Apart Femininity. Her newest book, The Set-Apart Woman, was released in 2015. Eric and Leslie live in Windsor, Colorado with their six precious kiddos. 

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