“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the
right paths for his name’s sake.” – Psalm 23:1-3
In recent weeks I have commenced my days by going on a morning prayer-walk. The time is meant to simply get alone with the Lord with no distractions. With a house full of six children, finding spiritual solitude can be difficult. Though I love being home in the morning, hearing the giggles of my children and watching them scurry about as they prepare for their day, it is the wonderfulness of it all that can make getting alone not so easy to do. Certainly children should see parents pray, but I believe God calls us into a place and time where we can have uninterrupted, face-to-face communion with Him. So, outside I go, into the fresh, brisk, dewy air.
Being outside in the morning is nothing new to me. I used to start my day with a two or three mile run that was meant to also include the Lord. I loved it, but to be honest, though I was alone, I was still very much distracted. I enjoy running and certainly want to stay healthy, but in that time I was not fully focused on Jesus. It is hard to pray while your heart rate is high and your breathing is heavier than normal. Running, despite its great fitness value, is difficult and requires a strong amount of self-focus to press through the discomfort. Thus, I sensed the Lord asking me to refocus my attention. Not that God is anti-exercise, He is far from it, but He was reminding me that if the goal was to be alone with Him with no distraction, then I must remove the distraction of self as well. So I adjusted the run to a walk, that I might more fully pay attention to the Lords voice and so that I might more easily open up to him; giving Him every honest thought I would otherwise have held on to.
It has been on these prayer-walks, which began as the winter weather was giving way to the beauty of spring, that I have been reminded of a time, years ago, when I felt the Lord promise me what He called a springtime anointing. The reason for this name is because I believe God knows how the spring season makes me feel. I love the elements of spring as they give me the sense of new life and refreshment. The weather is typically incredible, birds are returning from their winter haven, flowers are blooming, grass is greening, leaves are beginning to grow, and with every stream we hear the sound of melted snow running by, providing us a blessed farewell to the days of the bristling cold and the subsequent gnawing-angst of cabin fever. This is spring to me, and I believe that God offers its comfort not only in nature’s seasons, but in the seasons of life as well.
As spiritual leaders, to receive within us the refreshment and new life of a spring season, we must be willing to adjust. Just as God required me to get alone and adjust my run to a walk so that I could more intentionally listen and receive from Him, so we must do the same. We must be willing, despite it benefits, to pull back from ministry so that we can get alone with and refocus on Jesus, so we can rest, so we can heal, and so that life can be replenished within us.
We do not always recognize how badly we need a springtime anointing, assuming the work of the ministry is its own reward. However, there is a brick wall we will inadvertently run ourselves, and our group members, into if we do not slow down. If we continue at the fast pace of life and ministry, and are unwilling to listen to the sounds of Heaven’s spiritual spring, taking in the sweet aromas of the Fathers presence, and enjoying the comfort of the Holy Spirits refreshing air, we will miss what Jesus is offering, and what He wants to share with us in regard to the ministry that lies ahead.
Our upcoming trimester break is right around the corner. As Group activity slows I encourage you to do the same. End well and then tap into the springtime anointing that is being made available to you. We all need refreshment and the sense of new budding life. This should be a season of honesty before the Lord, of rhythmed spiritual breathing, of opened eared listening, and open handed receiving. This is an important season for both you and your group members. Make the adjustment and take advantage of it. For His name’s sake God desires to guide you along right paths, to lie you down in green pastures, to lead you beside quiet waters, and to restore your soul. There is so much God wants to provide you with during this time, elements you can then pass along to your group members in the seasons that follow.
Go Deeper – Grow Stronger!