With a lot of big decisions coming up in my life, I recently decided to take a getaway by myself. With all the uncertainty that loomed before me and my family for the next couple years, I knew I needed to go up to the mountains to pray. For me, this was a friend’s remote cabin on Guemes Island off the coast of Washington. With no electronics for 48 hours, I was ready to meet Jesus.
For two days I focused on praying, fasting, and listening to the Lord — all the things I hear people do but don’t often do myself. And what God chose to reveal to me on that island was incredible. He made it very clear to me that I was carrying a lot of wounds from the past few years that I hadn’t acknowledged. These wounds — from people and circumstances in life that went wrong — were situations in which I felt like I handled it well enough in the moment, and I had thought I had moved on, but I hadn’t truly given them to the Lord. And at times, I even used them to justify my anger. I thought, “It’s OK for me to be angry right now because this happened…”
But while I was praying by myself, the Lord pressed it on my heart to write these names and situations down on paper. I slowly fed these names and words to the fire and watched them burn. I left them there before God, while telling Him I would no longer hold anything against them.
The weight that lifted off me in that moment was supernatural. Before then, I had not realized the weight I was carrying. Isn’t that true for a lot of us? We don’t realize the baggage and burdens we are allowing to weigh us down until we release them into the hands of Jesus. The peace and clarity I had after leaving these burdens with the Lord was incredible.
Sometimes it takes going off and having nothing to do to be able to face what it is God wants us to face. A few hours by myself wouldn’t have resulted in the amount of cleansing I felt after those two days spent alone with Jesus. I had no one else to turn to, and no phone to turn on. I am so thankful I was able to have that time with God. I hope to do this at least once a year. Not only did I feel refreshed myself, but I found myself having more patience with my kids when I returned.
I want to challenge people to do this for themselves. Just go somewhere — just you and God. While my family and I always try to bring God into every decision we make, I needed to step away to truly experience Him speaking to me in a clear way. It’s important to slow down and meet with God. Just take a look at all the times God revealed Himself to His followers in the Bible, especially to Jesus. Jesus often went off by Himself to the mountain to pray to the Father. Moses went up to the mountain to meet with God. David was quiet before God while he was in a cave.
In our busy world, it may not be easy or convenient to go off by ourselves, but it’s incredibly important. If only we would take the time to meet with our God.
— Steven Souza, MLB outfielder
Steven Souza is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing articles and opinions. Check out Steven’s Increase profile here.
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