Disclaimer: Everything stated in this article is applicable to the author! How about you?
“Steal away, steal away, steal away to Jesus!
Steal away, steal away home,
I ain’t got long to stay here.”
Lyrical Excerpt from “Steal Away to Jesus”
A Negro Spiritual by James Weldon Johnson and John Rosamond Johnson
Why does it seem so hard for us to pull away from the things we KNOW are keeping us from abiding in true peace? Why do we allow the all-too-familiar speed bump of the status quo to slow us down on the road to progress and success? Could it be that we’re unwilling to make a clean break from what we intellectually know, visibly see, and mentally comprehend with our finite minds? Maybe we subconsciously think, “Well, it’s not that bad, right?” Is it possible there’s something deep down inside that wants to hold onto that habit, relationship, behavior, attitude, or memory?
Perhaps you have recently found yourself thinking thoughts similar to these:
- “Nobody else can organize/coordinate/orchestrate/manage this like I can.”
- “There just aren’t enough hours in the day to finish all that I have to accomplish!”
- “I could delegate this task, but it won’t get done the way I want it to be completed.”
If so, you need to steal away to Jesus – soon. Why? Because the process will remind you that you’re not indispensable – only He is. You are not a wonderful sensation or a marvelous phenomenon – you are a vessel He has selected and chosen for His use. Only when His glory is manifested can you reflect it to this lost and dying world – and offer the hope of salvation that comes only through Him. Yet, you are simply a vessel – one that carries the glory of Almighty God. Always remember that it’s not your glory in the first place. If you are so busy doing for others that you haven’t been replenished in His presence – beware! You’ll be dispensing from your own reserves instead of tapping into Him as the endless Source. And that, my friend, is a recipe for disaster.
Steal away means to “sneak out, slip out, slip away, exit, leave.” It means to slip away from your regular activities and daily routine to seek His face. Leave whatever you’re doing and get back to the basics – the core essence of your being. Exit the madness and swirling torrents of drama threatening to overtake you. When you spend time in the Lord’s presence, He’ll adjust your perspective and show you what’s really important –His priorities for your life. It makes things much simpler; you don’t have to figure it out after all – just obey His instructions. You’ll realize “I ain’t got long to stay here.” With that focus, you’ll be able to turn your attention to the activities and assignments you were sent to do – instead of allowing extraneous things to accumulate on your plate to the point of overwhelming you.
Years ago, as I enthusiastically described my first “real” job to my Dad (and the ink on my newly-minted college degree was still wet), he took that precise opportunity to burst my little bubble and give me a heaping dose of reality. With over twenty years of military service and plenty of “real world” life experience under his belt, I consider him to be a pretty trustworthy resource. He looked me straight in the eyes and said, “If you think you’re indispensable to your job – DIE. Then see if they don’t fill your seat with someone else to do your job…while the seat is warm.” His words hurt my feelings a bit (and bruised my ego a lot!), but as time passed, I’ve had to acknowledge how right he was. It set me on an early path of learning to balance the demands and expectations of others with taking responsibility for cultivating my own quality of life. I share those sage words with others who need a reality check.
For some strange reason, we think we’re supposed to be “super saints” who do it all – 24/7. Not so! Even our supreme example, Jesus, took time away from the crowds, noise, and hustle and bustle of everyday life. In Matthew 15, he took several opportunities after serving others to “get away from it all” and retreat into the presence of His Father. Depending on where you stand today and the boundaries you’ve set (and honor) for yourself, “flying under the radar” or “going off the grid” may seem like an action-movie fantasy or a harsh, drastic decision. However, sometimes it’s absolutely necessary. Often, we tell folks too much of our personal business, grant them unlimited access to our innermost thoughts, and expect answers, solutions, and validation they cannot provide. The intimacy we’re searching for in people must first be secured in our relationship with Christ. So don’t delay…steal away to Jesus!
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
(Matthew 11:28-30, NIV)
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me.
Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
(Matthew 11:28-30, The Message)
© Copyright 2009 by Kayren J. Cathcart