Friday, June 4, 2010

Time to Retreat

And He said to them, "Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while." (Mark 6:31a NAS)

Place of Solitude We usually think clearer and more creatively when we are relaxed. Unfortunately, many of us think at the worst of times. As a writer, I often muse and think over the subject matter before I write, and I write best when I am relaxed. I get inspired easily when walking through the woods or while taking long nature walks. Such luxury however is seldom possible, especially when I am on an assignment with a short deadline. In circumstances like this, the next best thing for me to do is to research and compile, then write. This is how I tackle writer’s block.

Research and compilation is common in most environments and if we know the process of problem solving, we know what this means. Problem solving is about identifying, analyzing, implementing, and evaluating. First, research and gather as much information on the subject as possible. Next, sort out the usable from the unusable, and then select what goes into the story. Finally write the story in our own words from the information gathered, re-reading it to edit till it reads smoothly.

A story written through research and hard work without inspiration however is seldom satisfactory to the writer, although it gets the job done. The fact remains however that an article can be better written at a different time with clarity of mind shows the importance and effectiveness of writing with sufficient rest.

Christian living is not very dissimilar when it comes to knowing God’s will. All of us know what it means to be tired or stressed to the point of being unable to think clearly or creatively. Often, it is during such times that we are called upon to make decisions. Ideally, we would like to have all the time in the world to make a decision in a relaxed environment, such as the woods or a secluded place. Unfortunately, such luxury often passes us by because of unavailable time and deadlines. In situations such as this, the best thing to do is to know God’s will through His word—the Bible.

Researching the Bible and compiling relevant information on the subject matter can help guide us in the right direction. All we need to do is to first identify the issue at hand and analyze the principles spelled out in God’s word. If what we seek to know is clearly pointed out to be against God’s word, we need not go further. If it is something unclear or neutral, however, we must evaluate and weigh the consequences before we implement steps toward what we plan to do. We should sort out the information gathered from the Bible and seek God’s help to know what’s usable and what’s not.

Finally, in prayerful spirit, we ought to use our God given common sense to think deep into the matter and understand how the decision will affect others as well as us (Philippians 2:4). Does it cause harm or promote better living for others? Does it cause consequences that may result in disasters or damages? Once evaluated, review the plan again, edit where necessary until we are sure it is the best way to move forward as we seek the peace of God within our hearts for confirmation.

Ideally, of course, we hope to get a clear indication from God as to His will, but often we are left with the freedom of choice to do what we want. Compiling and researching God’s word is one of the best ways to help us make right decisions, but the fact remains that we ought to set aside time to go away by ourselves to rest (Mark 6:31-32), to renew our minds as we seek His will. When what we are doing weighs down on our minds, it is time we retreat to rediscover inspiration from God and be refreshed.

Dear Lord, grant us clarity of minds when making decisions, that we may not fall prey to consequences which are not according to Your will. Reveal Your will to us Lord through Your word and let us know the direction to go forward. Help us set aside time in our heavy schedules to find rest in Your holy presence Lord. Still our hearts to know Your peace as we use the common sense You have given us to do what is right according to Your will.

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