Down to the River: The Importance of Finding Your Place of Peace

“You go up to the feast. I am not going up to this feast now, for my time has not yet fully come.” After saying this, he remained in Galilee. But after his brothers had gone up to the feast, then he also went up, not publicly but in private.          – John 7:8-10


As an introvert, I’ve often thought it’s interesting to note the number of times in scripture that Jesus takes some time to himself, out in creation, away from the hustling, bustling crowds to refocus and recenter himself.  Of course, one can never say for sure, but I like to think that just maybe Jesus, too, was an introvert.

What do you do when you find yourself overrun, overwhelmed, overburdened?  Admit it, it happens.  We get carried away with schedules, to-do lists, activities, and things we never should have agreed to take on.

Homeschooling can get stressful when we lose sight of why we’re doing it.  When we get caught up in the deadlines and must-dos, and the comparison game.  Marriages can get stressful when we neglect to take time for each other.  Parenting can be frustrating during certain phases, waking up every few hours to feed a newborn, toddlerhood, teenagerhood (okay, and nearly everything in between!)

I’ve never really been a proponent of the “Don’t forget to take time for Mom” movement, somehow (and feel free to disagree here!) it always felt a bit selfish to take spa days or shopping excursions or whatever other form of “me time” some suggest.  At the same time, however, I do feel it is important to do something to bring the calm back into your life.

One of my favorite ways is to get back to nature.  Taking a walk along a trail in the woods, alone.  Trying some alone-time geocaching.  Sitting awhile by the ocean. (If I lived near one, I’d be spending hours there!  There’s nothing more relaxing than the sound of the waves crashing up on shore.)  Sipping a cup of your favorite hot drink while watching a thunderstorm roaring outside.  Grabbing a few moments to curl up with a book.   Spending time reading scripture and reconnecting with the Source of all peace.

During the time of the verse posted above, Jesus was facing some real opposition in Jerusalem.  It was a very stressful situation, and he knew if he arrived with his followers, he’d attract unwanted attention. So he sent them along ahead. “Go on, guys!  I’ll catch up!”

Using Google Maps, it looks like that its approximately a 40-hour walk, depending on exactly where in Galilee he was leaving from, where in Jerusalem he was going and how quickly he walked.  So that’s at least a good day and a half at a minimum.  I’ve read some sources say that it was a 5-day walk between the two.  Either way, he had a lot of alone time on the journey.

There are many examples in scripture of Jesus taking alone-time: when facing a decision, getting ready for a major task, working through grief, in times of high-stress, to focus on prayer…  Introvertedness vs. extrovertedness aside, his example is good to remind us that we sometimes need help to recenter us on what really matters.  Solitude can benefit us greatly if we use that time to sort through whatever is on our minds and in our hearts.

Where is your place of peace? How do you destress and refocus?  Do you have a favorite place or activity to find solitude?


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