By Angie Dailey
February is fabulous—the best month of the year, in my opinion. It’s the month to pause and take a breath.
As this second month of the new year arrives, we are settling into the possibilities. The distractions from the previous year’s calendar no longer require our attention. Our televisions have returned to regular programming, and so have our schedules. Quiet finds its place in February, and we should embrace it.
2016 seems heavy when I look back on it. We had a long political election season. Social issues seemed abundant, and some days I was left not knowing what to think. The holidays were hectic. I spent most of January cleaning up and putting away and trying to recover. Now my home is in order.
This month is a respite.
Not only do I need rest, but I need time. I forgot my daily devotions too many times in the chaos. Dust has collected on my journal. Personal projects have been set aside long enough and are now calling to me. The outdoors beckons me to take a walk on the frosty ground. In Ohio the air is crisp, so I breathe it in deep, feeling refreshed.
Jesus himself made sure to take time-outs.
“Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he dismissed them, he went up to the mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone” (Matt. 14:22–23 NIV).
Jesus intentionally pulled away from his followers to pray and eat, to prepare for what would come next. He set the example for rebooting ourselves in a similar manner. The calm of February is important.
I like to imagine Jesus alone, praying, kneeling with his head bowed, eyes closed, and sandals off. His hands are raised as he releases everything that burdens him. Sending it all to his Father above, he can have repose.
This is February. This is the time for us to send the crowds away and reassess our schedules. These are the moments we take back our lives from all that weighs us down. We lift our hands and pray to our Father, giving all the chaos to him so we can rest. Working through the burdens of emotion, we hand them over. We may cry, sing, or pray. Writing all our doubts, fears, and worries in a prayer notebook can be exhilarating. Regardless of how we give our burdens to him, he takes them all from us.
He absorbs every feeling of regret, every moment of heartache. He strips away all the fear, the worry, and the hurt from our soul. In our time of quiet, he hears our internal cry. God knows our overwhelmed hearts, and he gives us peace in return, smoothing us and refining us. Jesus came off the mountain and returned to the disciples and the boat. Because of his time of rest, he could get back to the life and work he had been given.
We can do the same. We can spend this month resetting our priorities and healing our hearts. Although it will look different for each of us, the results will be similar. We can start again. With renewed spirits and renewed hope, we will move forward into this year. If we need another breather, the Father is always ready, willing, and able to provide us with an opportunity. Like Jesus, we can jump off the boat and spend some time alone when we need it most. The best part is we are never alone. He is always near to us, holding our hands and hearts close.
Angie Dailey lives in rural Ohio with her husband and family. She spends her best and most important time with the Creator of the Universe and with her family. She loves coffee, Jesus, and gardening, but not necessarily in that order. Angie blogs at angiedailey.com.
Photograph © Thought Catalog, used with permission