‘Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.’

Luke 5:16 NIV

Having boundaries for different parts of our lives can help us reduce stress and avoid burn out. Boundaries help us to say ‘no’ to things that we can’t do, to focus more on the things we’re called to do, and to develop healthy relationships with others and with God. But the type of boundary is important. Rigid boundaries can cause us to shut other people out. Permeable boundaries leave us defenceless against those who feel entitled to manipulate us and who expect to be taken care of at our expense. But flexible boundaries help us live our own life, with a balanced and healthy interest in others. We need flexible boundaries to help us determine when situations require us to get involved, and when we should stay away. Sometimes we can think that we have to be there for everyone at all times. And we can use verses like: ‘Carry each other’s burdens’ (Galatians 6:2 NIV) to justify why we’re saying ‘yes’ to helping everyone. But when we look at Jesus’ life, we can see that boundaries are important. The Bible tells us that ‘Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.’ Jesus had a rhythm of life which was balanced between work and rest. He served, taught, healed, provided, socialised, but also ‘often withdrew’ so that He could spend time with His Father and rest. There were times when people were asking Him to help them, and He removed Himself from the situation to be with God. After He fed the five thousand, He sent the crowds away. ‘After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray’ (Matthew 14:23 NIV). Jesus knew when He needed to say ‘no’ and spend time resting in God’s presence instead. And that’s what we need to do too.

What now?

Make some time today to be alone with God. Go somewhere where you won’t be disturbed and just rest in His presence.

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