5. Invest Time in Reflection and Contemplation. The Sabbath was not only a time for rest and recreation. It was a time for stillness, reflection and contemplation about life, its meaning, its direction, and God’s activity within it. It was a time for spiritual renewal - to reconnect with the holy and recharge the internal batteries.
Jesus took regular time aside from the demands of the pressing crowd to connect with his Father and ensure that his priorities and his life’s direction were aligned correctly. Was Jesus a workaholic? No. Yes, he at times pushed himself to the limits, but not all the time. He set limits in his life and he took time to reflect and relax (Luke 5:15-16). Jesus often pulled out of the pressure and busyness in order to “centre” his life, spending time with his Father. This was his custom – his frequent pattern of action. As a result of regular reflection and contemplation, Jesus always knew what was important (his priorities), he learned to say ‘no’ to the unimportant, and he remained emotionally healthy.
These are the kind of benefits that can be ours when we take regular time for reflection and contemplation. Here are some good things to do while “reflecting”:
- Think about the good things God has done in your life. Adopt an “attitude of gratitude” by regularly reviewing what God has done – blessings, answers to prayer, etc. Taking time to think of all the marvellous things God has done cultivates a grateful attitude and a positive outlook on life, despite current other challenges. Learn to celebrate what God “has” done. Don’t always be living in the future. Enjoy the “moment” and celebrate now. After all, “This (today!) is the day that the Lord has made …”
- Be still and “wait on the Lord”. God often meets us in “stillness and quietness” (Psalm 46:10; 37:7. Isaiah 30:15). We need to learn to slow ourselves down and create “space” for God to speak. God spoke to Elijah through a “small still voice” not through the crashing thunder or earthquake. As the speed of our life increases, the quality of our inner world often decreases. Many times, we suffer from “hurry sickness”, which is an inability to slow down, which damages the quality of our life, often resulting in great stress.
- Listen for God’s voice. Ask to know God’s mind and heart. What does he think and feel – about you and about the world? Ask God for direction and guidance, for answers and solutions, for insight and wisdom, and for creativity. Write down what you hear (Habakkuk 2:1-3. Rev.1:19).
- Evaluate your life. Have a good honest “check-up”. Like David, ask God to search you (Psalm 139:23-24). What trouble and difficulty we could avoid if we only opened our heart up fully to the Spirit of God. Ask yourself strategic questions such as: “What lessons am I learning? Are you heading in the right direction? What’s going well? What’s not going well? What HAS to change?” “When” you do these things is not as important as the fact “that” you regularly and consistently do them.
- Dream a little. What better future can you see that God wants you to be a part of creating and making a reality?
Reflection and contemplation are very important ways to refuel!