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  • Writer's pictureRandy McKenzie

Take Time to Wander

No, that is not a mis-spelling, I said wander.

To wander is to walk or move in a leisurely, casual, or aimless way. To walk with no purpose.

In a fast-paced world, these ideas are counter-intuitive. For many, walking without any purpose sounds like a complete waste of time. After all, there is so much to do! Days overflow with so many demands on time and attention.

Living life becomes all about doing, without much thought for being. Exercise, when it is undertaken, is for most just one part of a day’s hoped-for accomplishments. “Bucket lists” are created so that even the living of one’s life is marked by checking off one event or experience after another. As we move at hyper-speed, wandering for the sake of wandering sounds ridiculous.

Dr. John Ratey, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, has done extensive research on exercise, creativity and depression. His research suggests that when we walk without any goal or agenda—when we wander in other words—our brains are able to pick up more information.

"Walking aimlessly allows the free flow of thoughts and ideas that don’t occur when we focus on something specific. "

While it would be unlikely to characterize the earthly ministry of Jesus as time spent wandering aimlessly, he was always about His father's business, our efficiency-driven, goal-oriented world might wonder at his unusual pace and priorities during those short, three years.

In the gospel of Luke more than 10 times it mentions Jesus had meals around the table with guests, a very diverse group, including religious leaders, tax collectors, and well known sinners.

When a highly regarded official begged Jesus to come and heal his daughter, Jesus is willing to be delayed by an unnamed, unknown woman grabbing the hem of his garment in spite of the throngs of people pressing around. In other words, Jesus willingly allows himself to be interrupted by a seemingly unimportant individual, on his way to the synagogue official’s home. Other times, the gospel writers tell of Jesus going off to “lonely places” to pray. Even the way Jesus taught spiritual truths—the telling of parables and stories—suggests a whimsy, a wandering style of teaching. One could argue that the tremendous amount of time he spent walking the countryside was simply a waste of time, his willingness toward these disruptions, stories, and ministry along the way demonstrate otherwise.

From our modern perspective, it looks like such a waste of time. Perhaps Jesus understood the power of a long walk with his disciples and the need for a story to pull in listeners. Perhaps Jesus understood that looking at the birds of the air and observing the lilies of the field could give life and strength to one’s being, gifts given by their Creator. Perhaps Jesus understood for himself the power of abiding in God as a result of his time spent alone in prayer.

Take a moment and consider how the frantic pace of our lives affects the peace of our souls.

Our world is blanketed by so much noise-loud, harsh, and unsettling-that our souls are chronically stressed.

Isaiah said:

"In quietness and confidence shall be your strength"

(Isa. 30:15)

To download strength from God we need to make time to be with Him.

God says we gain strength by retreating into the quietness of His presence and waiting upon Him.

In his book The Servant Leader, Ken Blanchard says;

"Solitude and silence give us some space to reform our innermost attitudes toward people and events. They take the world off our shoulders for a time and interrupt our habit of constantly managing things, of being in control, or thinking we are in control"

Slow down, Get quiet. Wander, pray.

Prayer is the river in which God's strength flows into your life.

Maybe you're weak because you have not slowed down. You feel beat up by the world. Now is the time to turn to God.

John MacArthur says;

" No one in the kingdom of God is too weak to experience God's power, but many are too confident in their own strength. Physical suffering mental anguish, disappointment, unfulfillment, and failure squeeze the impurities out of believers lives, making them pure channels through which God's power can flow"

"God does not need your strength."

said Charles Spurgeon.

"He has more than enough power of His own. He askes for your weakness: He has none of that Himself, and He is longing, therefore to take your weakness, and use it as His instrument in His own mighty hand. Will you not yield your weakness to Him, and receive His strength?"

Find a quiet place, away from your phone, pray, walk with no purpose in mind. Let your thoughts flow. Let God wash away the stress and strain of your day. Observe, the flowers, the birds, the sky, all creation sings of His Glory.

Listen, you will hear His gentle voice.

He is there, always!

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