I don’t know about you, but Christmas is always a little hard on my soul. I love having family around, watching Christmas movies, great meals, getting presents for my wife and kids that I KNOW they will love. But spiritually and emotionally, at a deep level, I am usually very depleted.

It could be the busyness of the “season”, simply the end of a full-on year of life, battle with the secularization of Christmas, spiritual warfare or unrealistic expectations. Whatever the cause, the effect is what I want to reverse.

Somewhere between Christmas and New Years, I told a few friends that I intended to take a couple of days alone with God to replenish and reorient. As I had hoped, these friends have been asking me when and where I was going to do this. So, tomorrow I will be going to a lodge / retreat center offered to me for this very purpose.

Last August I recorded a video-blog on my time alone with God on my birthday titled, Take Another Look. I think birthdays are a great time to recount our life’s story and New Years is a great time to recount our length of days.

I have always been stuck by Moses statement, “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12) There is certain type of focus, intentionality and perspective that we gain when we understand the capacity or quantity of our life.

Christmas Eve, Leigh gives each family member a book. This year, Leigh gave me a book by Charles Spurgeon, Power Over Satan.

Spurgeon wrote, “Among men there are some who know a great many important matters but act as if they do not know them. Their knowledge is so much wasted heaped up in the storeroom of their minds and never brought into the workshop to be used for practical purposes…we are not as earnest as dying men ought to be.”

He goes on to say how Satan is aware of his shortness of time in both this world and in a person’s life therefore “his evil nature is all on fire, and his excitement is terrible.” And, “how much the shortness of our time ought to stir our hearts…to ardency of love and fervency of zeal…in our days of sojourning here!”

Bringing into the workshop what God has shown me; becoming more earnest with who I am; stirring the fire in my redeemed heart. This is what I’m getting away for.

Here a few of the questions I’m taking to God in my time away:

What is it that you have put in me that I am not fully walking in and offering?
What parts of my life are not fully awake, alive and free?
What is the season that I am coming into?
What am I lacking at this point that I will need for this coming season?
Where I’m I still living out of duty, obligation, expectations, guilt, shame or pressure instead of love, generosity, grace and passion?
What have you put on my heart that it’s time has come?
How am I to walk with others differently?
Are their things in my life that are not to be brought into this next season?
What have you revealed to me that I have not picked up on, noticed, understood or embraced?
I want to encourage you to snatch some time away with God alone if you haven’t already. It may be for a few hours or a few days. It may be in your favorite coffee shop, in your car at your favorite overlook, in a hotel room or retreat center. You and God, away, alone for a longer-than-usual time is what is needed.

Stirring the fires of ardent love and fervent zeal,

Gary