“Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, ‘Sit here while I go over there and pray’” (Matthew 26:36, NIV 2011).
The pressures of practice can certainly break us. This Friday afternoon as I was about to leave for my weekend, I received a frantic text message from a Christian physician in a small town in the Midwest. It was an extensive conversation and our back-and-forth continued for 30 minutes, partially because my thumbs are poorly trained for texting.
The gist of the rambling and frantic discussion was that he was totally overwhelmed; he felt unappreciated and was losing his faith in the midst of it all. Knowing him as a brilliant young man with a solid work ethic, I am certain that he was under tremendous time and work pressure.
Some of my texted reply:
“Ultimately God hears and loves whether we feel it or not. I have no doubt you will connect with Him again. Right now I think you need to find a way to cut out the least important thing you are doing and give yourself a little space to allow you to sort things out. Praying with your wife about it would be a good thing.”
Sometimes the difficult changes we need to make in life cannot be easily made while we remain under the very pressures that demand those changes.
I am a firm believer that major decisions should rarely be concluded during times of severe emotional distress; yet, I continue to do so in my own life.
This young, talented doctor was quitting both his job and his God.
Ever been there?
Most of the time, two steps should be taken when major decisions are to be made under intense pressure.
First, space to decide should be established. Making space requires letting go of something. Time is such a limited commodity for most of us. Rarely can we make space without removing an activity that occupies some of that space. What is the least important thing that I spend my time doing? Let it go.
Second, most important decisions should not be made alone. And every important decision should be bathed in prayer. With whom am I praying about my major decisions?
Space and prayer.
Let something go---and kneel with someone.
Let me look to you for the important decisions in my life. Let me not always come to you alone. Help me examine my life when it is overloaded and show me what is least important. Then grant me the strength to let it go.