By: Kelly Arena
And just like that…we are in a New Year! In January, we typically anticipate the year ahead of us, and make plans, set goals, and New Year resolutions. Knowing we will likely not even accomplish half of the list, we still sit down and make lists of all the “doings” that we hope to achieve.
But God did not make human doings; he made human beings. We live in a culture that craves hectic schedules and prides itself with unending tasks. Even as Christians, we cannot escape the hurried pace of life. There’s constant pressure to perform and give 100% to everything every day of every week.
I do not know about you, but I am exhausted. Are you exhausted too? Some days I feel like a hamster in a wheel, running as fast as I can so that I can keep up with all the doings taking place. Most days I have found myself checking my boxes of human doing, but then I stop and think. “What is this really all about?”
There is nothing wrong with our doings, but as January rolls around, I am wanting to challenge myself this year to spend time being content as a human being. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.” Stillness and quiet are greatly frowned upon in our society, but often avenues to something greater in God’s eyes. So this year, I want to deepen my relationship with God. I desire to study Him intently, and rest in Emmanuel, as I shared in my last blog. To experience God more, I need to allow myself to set all my doings aside, slow down, and learn to just be.
If Jesus took time to pull away and be with God the Father, how much more important is it for us to do that too? After Jesus fed the 5,000, he deeply desired one-on-one alone time with His Father. Matthew 13:14, “Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns.” Jesus sets the example of the necessity of quietly seeking God.
Before Jesus’ arrest He withdrew to be with His Father again. But the crucial point of Jesus’ example teaches us that this was a normal and necessary part of His life. We often think of the Mount of Olives only at Jesus’ arrest, but it was a favorite spot for Him to retreat and be with God. Also, Luke 22:39-41 says, “And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. And when he came to the place, he said to them, ‘Pray that you may not enter into temptation.’ And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed.” Jesus continually seeks His Father.
What I love about Wholehearted is that it’s a community which encourages and praises Quiet Time. Time to stop, pray, and meditate on Scripture. There’s a great quote from “Little Women” where Marmy says to the youngest daughter, Amy, “You’re too busy reshaping your dear little nose then you are fashioning your character.” Although my focus hasn’t been on my nose, I’ve found myself guilty of this very thing. Corrie ten Boom wisely warns us, “If the devil cannot make us bad, he will make us busy.”
So in 2020, I am asking myself and I am asking you, “Who are you? Can I be content to give myself the title of a child of God and nothing more? How can I be the wife, the friend, the employee others need me to be? How can I just be?”
As you journey through this year with your Bible in one hand, and your Quiet Time Companion in the other, let us give ourselves and each other permission to stop and be. To truly give the time to allow God to work in our hearts and shape us into the person He wants us to be. To take the time to stop and be still and delight in the quiet company of our Savior.
God took Kelly from being a little girl in speech therapy, to someone who desires to write passionately and speak boldly for the glory of God. In the midst of various trials including living in chronic pain, Kelly chooses to find her joy in the Lord and trust that God has a good and perfect plan. Kelly now resides in Fayetteville, NC as an Army wife to her life-long friend, Jarrett, along with their two dogs Maddy and Radar.