“And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. “ ~ Mark 1:35 (English Standard Version)
An isolated park bench at just the right time of day; that is a scene that plays in my head more often than I care to admit. As an introvert I am keenly aware of the energizing power of getting away by myself. Practicing the discipline makes me better in every role I am called to in life. Full disclosure; I haven’t taken the time to get to do what I know is important for quite some time. I have to also admit that neglecting this discipline has taken a toll on me. Not taking time apart as a leader is simply asking for trouble. When a leader does this they are treading on thin ice.
Does my confession sound familiar to you? Could you have written those words? If you are a leader, with even a minimal amount of drive, it is probable that you neglect Sabbath, retreat, or solitude. We often believe that we are too valuable to take time off or that we are much better served to press just a bit farther. We overlook or ignore altogether the signs that we are wearing thin at the edges. Fatigue, lack of focus, irritability, sadness, or despondency can all be signs that we need to get away and be refreshed.
As I have been spending time in a coaching relationship recently, I’ve learned that not taking the time to refocus, refresh, revive, reconnect (whatever words may fit) has possibly made me less effective as a disciple, husband, father, and leader. Ironically, the very things we are striving for move further from our reach if we neglect to take time apart. Jesus knew the importance of taking time apart. It is important for every leader to intentionally dial time into their schedule when they will get away to be with God, hear his voice, and obey his command. Are you long overdue for such a time? If so, I encourage you to schedule it now. I am going to find a nice secluded bench somewhere and spend a day. Where is your favorite place to go?