by Mel Tavares
Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest. Mark 6:31 NIV
Have you ever been so mentally exhausted that your brain seemingly stops processing? That happened to me recently, at the end of a hectic season of life. After pushing through project after project, I hit the proverbial wall. I told my husband I was “Crispy, fried, overcooked, done, and I need a day at the beach.” I secretly thought I needed a week at the beach but figured a day would allow me to recharge.
For me, the beach is where I recharge. Your recharging station may be a park or a mountain filled with hiking trails. We all need a place to retreat that is void of noise and distractions and will allow us to spend extended time with the Lord.
Uniquely created, God knows my innermost being and understands the beach is where I listen most intently to Him. “Meet me at the beach,” He whispered.
The next day I packed my beach bag, excited as I thought about an entire day of resting and communing with the Lord. I packed a journal, pen, Bible, favorite devotional, sunscreen, water bottles, and snacks.
Driving to the beach, I thought of Jesus and His frequent withdrawal from ministering to people so he could pray. Luke 4:42 (ESV) says, “And went it was day, he departed and went to a desolate place.” As reports of Jesus’ miracles spread, crowds increasingly followed him. Luke 16 (ESV) says, “But, he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.” Mark 1:36 (ESV) gives a similar account. “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed to a desolate place, and there he prayed.”
If Jesus frequently needed to stop ministering to people and withdraw to a quiet place to pray, the same need is true for us. My mistake over the past couple of months is that I momentarily forgot the importance of frequently withdrawing and pushed myself too hard.
What about you? Do you remember to stop and retreat to a quiet place, to recharge?
My day at the beach was wonderful. I sat and observed all the Lord had created, and praise poured out of my mind and into my journal. I wrote as the Lord spoke words of direction and encouragement. As I let waves of the Holy Spirit refreshing crash over me, I felt strength arising.
I thought about the timing of Jesus’ withdrawals and how often he withdrew before or after pouring himself out: After he multiplied the loaves and fishes (Mark 6:46), before he chose his disciples (Luke 6:12), and before the transfiguration (Luke 9:28). As I reflected on these truths, my emotions normalized, realizing if Jesus needed to experience the ebb and flow of withdrawing and ministering; certainly, it is normal for me to need the same pattern.
As the waning sun shimmered hues of orange and pink on the water, joy returned to my soul. Not that I had been anxious or depressed, but the weariness of ministry with no breaks had depleted my emotions. Reluctantly, I packed my things and made my way to my car. As I drove back to the city that never sleeps, where addicts roam the streets and trafficked women lurk in the shadows, I felt the weight of ministry needs descending.
Is there a lifestyle change you need to make to enable you to withdraw to a quiet place? Do you need to get up earlier, before your household? Do you need to carve out time to sit by the water or walk in the garden in the cool of the night as you commune with the Lord? As for me, I am committing to meet the Lord at the beach more frequently.
This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Mel Tavares is an accomplished writer and speaker/teacher, both in ministry and in her career. She is passionate about encouraging and teaching writers. Her target market is women who are hurting and in need of Biblical hope. In addition to ghost writing and authoring her own books, Mel is a contributing author to several books, including the recently released DaySpring “Sweet Tea for the Soul: Comfort for Grieving Hearts.” She writes for several online Christian communities, teaches classes online, conducts Facebook Live series, and is a podcast guest as opportunities arise. She is a wife, mom to seven, and grandma to ten.
Join the conversation: Where do you go to commune with God?