It is time once again for our annual family retreat at Slumber Falls Camp in New Braunfels. On Friday- Sunday, September 14-16, we will be at Slumber Falls for a time of renewal and rejuvenation. It’s very important for human beings to have time for renewal and rejuvenation. As Jesus counsels us in Matthew 11:28: “Come to me, all you that are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”
Although we are not consciously aware of it, the problem of being weary and carrying heavy burdens is very real in modern contemporary society. David Kundtz, in his book Stopping, calls it the problem of too much. Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed or emotionally numbed by the pace and sheer quantity of life? Are you prevented by your overloaded schedule from keeping your true priorities? Do you feel unable to do all the things you need to do and still have time for yourself? If so, says Kundtz, you are encountering the problem of too much.
Most of us in this hurry-up, e-mail world of instant response are feeling this same sense of overload. We are weary and carrying heavy burdens. There is too much to do, too much to cope with, too much distraction, too much noise, too much demanding our attention, too many choices. There is too much of everything for the time and energy available.
We all have been feeling the choices, demands, and complexities of life increase with every passing year. From cars to telephones, everything has become more complicated. We have more to do, more places to go, and more things we need to accomplish. But the day remains twenty-four hours. The year, the same twelve months. The amount of activity constantly increases, but both the amount of time into which it must fit and the human energy with which it must be met remain the same.
The problem of too much has become what it is over a long period of time, with small and
imperceptible changes that we haven’t noticed. Stopping to rest and be renewed can help to relieve the strain. American naturalist and poet Henry David Thoreau said this in 1845 when he went to live at Walden Pond: “I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
Most of us can’t retire to the woods, but hopefully we can spend one weekend at Slumber Falls Camp to remember who we are and who has put us here for what purpose. So if you haven’t registered yet for the retreat, I am hoping that you will, for your own mental health and well-being. It could make a big difference in your ability to cope with the “too much” of postmodern life.
But if you just cannot get away for the weekend of the retreat, There are some other ways for you to stop and be renewed throughout each day. Reading from a book of daily devotions or from the Bible can be a way of stopping. So can writing letters or writing in a journal or diary. Or going to a park or museum. Or listening to music. Or taking a walk or a jog. There are many ways to stop. It can be as simple as taking a deep, intentional breath. We just have to make a point of doing it.
Of course, the best way to be renewed is to come to Jesus in prayer, to give Jesus your weariness and the heavy burdens you are carrying, and find rest for your soul. We will be doing this at our family retreat at Slumber Falls. We hope you’ll join us!
Blessings and Peace,