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Are you heading in the right direction?

April 22, 2014 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Posted in: Discipleship

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24)

One of my favorite places in the world is the Center for Retreat and Renewal in Simsbury. This retreat center, located behind Covenant Presbyterian Church, has proved to be an invaluable place in my spiritual journey, as once every month I get away from the office, unplug from the internet and cell phone, and spend an uninterrupted work day before the Lord. I typically devote the first half of the day to personal reflection and planning: I sing, I pray, I read, I journal, I look back on lessons I am supposed to be learning, and I organize and make plans regarding where I and my family need to go. After lunch, I spend the second half of the day on church work: planning an upcoming sermon series, doing long-range planning, or thinking through deeper issues and plans that require uninterrupted time. I always leave feeling like I have a plan moving forward, and wishing I could come back more often.

Socrates once said that “the unexamined life is not worth living.” I know that many of you may be the type who are constantly examining and analyzing your lives, and so you already understand the value of reflection. For me, however, reflection has been a learned skill. I have always by nature drifted through life, taking it moment by moment, largely unconcerned about the past or the future, and just responding to whatever comes my way. And there are benefits to that temperament – I tend to be calm, enjoying the moment and I am not anxious about much. However, I have learned that Socrates’ words carry a lot of truth to them. Taking the time to stop and look back and learn from the past, and to think through whether I am travelling in the direction I wish to travel in is something that is essential to living my life to the fullest for God. For this reason, a couple of years ago I finally got in the habit of taking one day a month to get away and reflect on where I am, where I have been, and where I need to go.

If we are not vigilant about our life, we all tend to slide back towards sin, self-centeredness, and a life of independence from God. It takes regular times of recalibration to repent and turn back towards a God-centered life. My question for you today is, do you have those times built into your schedule? Even if it is once a month, do you have some time where you can stop, reflect, and refocus your life on what really matters? I know that you, like most of us, are busy, and if you’re anything like me, unless you intentionally schedule time away to reflect, it will never happen. But it is important to spend that time with the Lord, learning from the past and planning for the future. So if it does not easily fit into your schedule, ask for help from those around you if you need to be freed up to take that time for reflection. Take the time to get away with the Lord, that He might search you and reveal to you more about who you are, where you’ve been, and where you need to go.

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