I was about to take off with my mom for our girls’ weekend away. The sun was shining and warm, the convertible top was down, we had just finished watching all 3 boys play baseball and we would be on our way to our free afternoon of whatever we felt like doing in the city.
I put in the name of our hotel on the phone for directions and the screen went into a white blank search. I waited, but not too long.
“It’s not pulling up. Ugh! My phone has been acting up lately! Nothing. It won’t load much at all!” My husband was still just outside the car and I was yelling that out for his benefit too. Like it was my desperate plea to please fix this annoyance in my life. It had been doing this for days and I was sure I would be shelling out money for a new one soon.
At the same time he and my mom say a version of the same thing.
“Power off and on again.”
Every time someone says that to me I feel 2 things. 1. How could I have forgotten to do something so simple? 2. How can something so simple really fix this?
I listened, turned the phone off (but not for long, I had places to go), and sure enough, it worked like a charm. GPS was up and moving along with all the other apps that were holding out on me. *Sigh*
Could it all really be so simple?
Last time I told a story at the fire I recounted my husband’s deployment. It’s been almost 4 months since he’s returned home. 4 months! In that time he has done nothing but transition from one change to another. He was home for a month, went back to his old job in the civilian world for a month, put in his notice that he was leaving in a month, then immediately started his new job on base for almost a month. Count ’em up. 4 months of change.
My boys moved along from their basketball season to baseball, and Thomas (husband) is even coaching the older boys’ team. He also joined the church softball team so he could play too.
I started a local writers group with some moms from our school and meet with them twice a month for encouragement and learning. Then I mentioned to our Moms group leaders that I could write some curriculum for them and they took me up on it. We found out we were approved for a trip to Orlando for work and so I spent a week learning and planning Disney for our family’s first trip there this summer.
Now its May and apparently any and every event in school, church, and life needs to happen these last few weeks. Every time I finish one activity, I turn around to realize that a volunteer assignment or field trip is quick on its heals. Fast food is too commonly our dinner plan and juice boxes are strewn across the floors of my minivan.
All the sickness that stayed at bay for my boys and I in January when daddy returned, came to cash in this month. Seriously, we have had random vomiting, pink eye, fifths disease (we had no idea until the rash came and then its not contagious-go figure), itchy feet, sore throats, and a current fever and cough that won’t relent for my youngest. He had to miss his last days of school. My voice was completely gone on Mother’s Day weekend and my husband who almost never takes a sick day had to come home early from work because he’s struggling with the same thing as my 5 year old.
We are CRAWLING to the end line folks.
I usually welcome the end of the school year because it’s a nice break. This year, I feel like a marathon runner who’s going to straight up pass out over the finish line.
The Holderness family nailed it with their “Maycember” music video. If you haven’t seen it, its worth a few minutes of your precious May time. It reminds me I’m not alone and makes me laugh instead of cry. When I ask a friend if they heard about an upcoming event, it’s not unusual for me to receive a blank stare as they search their files. If they are even willing to search. It’s like the blank white screen of my phone. We’ve got little to nothing left and our circle is just spinning while our page remains blank.
The reminder comes. I need to POWER OFF.
Isn’t it funny that we can relate ourselves to a piece of technology? Aren’t we more complex than that? Is it really so simple, and if that’s the answer, how do I even do that?
Jesus was having a “May” himself throughout much of his ministry. It wasn’t his entire life. He spent the first years growing up in a family and learning the trade of his father. But when it was time to start his journey towards the cross, it became MAY. Open your nearest Bible and take a look at the book of Matthew, starting about midway of chapter 4 and then glance across the black letters (if your Bible has red letters they’re used to show the words of Jesus) that describe the setting at the tops and bottoms of each titled section. Scan through chapter after chapter. Phrases like this are found:
“From that time on Jesus began to preach,”
“When he came down from the mountainside from teaching, the crowds followed him”
“When Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him asking for help.”
“When Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever.”
“Then he got into the boat and the disciples followed him.” (This is where he was sleeping in the boat during a bad storm. After reading all this, I think I can understand WHY.)
“Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat.”
“While he was saying this, a ruler came and knelt before him and said, ‘My daughter has just died,’”
It goes on. Jesus moves from one place to the next and the people flock to him. As he travels around, there are sick, hurting, confused, and dying people all around him begging for his help. As a mom of 3 sometimes I dare to think, “this is what I feel like”. But really, they are just 3. He was often surrounded by crowds of hundreds to thousands. And yet, Scripture says, “he had compassion on them”.
Luke 5:15-16 reads, “Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”
Jesus was fully human. He surely got tired and felt the aches of this body and life. But we are also told that he was fully God. His personal aches were overcome with an ache of compassion. He loved people fully and gave them more than what they sought. Physical healing, yes. But spiritual life and newness? That’s a game changer. This man, this son of God brought LIFE beyond the here and now.
But he also needed a moment to power off. He slept through storms, he stepped out on boats to preach from a distance, he withdrew to be on his own and pray to God. He was showing us an incredibly important lesson in his actions.
You have a job to do? Do it and work hard.
You have children to care for? Do the 3680 tasks that are necessary to keep them safe and growing.
You have a school, church or organization to volunteer at? Please serve with your whole heart.
You have a sickness that has taken over? Go to doctors appointments, ask for help, reorganize the schedule.
BUT, (yes a big but), in order to keep going, function properly and do so with love—take the moment to power down.
Find that quiet place and pray. I think one of the reasons Jesus chose ‘lonely places’ is so that he could hear. Hear nature. Hear his own breathing. Hear God. The crowds and people were always around him. He needed space…
to hear God whisper the sweet words of encouraging life back into his soul.
When we do this, this simple little action, our mind and heart reset. We have just what we need to make it to the next power off. When you find your mind spinning and nothing but an empty page of a heart, don’t forget that step, friends.
I’m going to wrap this up and find a lonely place. Because if you made it with me to the end here, you and the Lord know I can use it.