Sizzlin’ Summer: The Power of Tucking Away
Getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of daily life is not an uncommon side effect of living in today’s world. We need to “tuck away” and spend time with our Father every day so that we can have the fuel we need to take on the race we are meant to run. This past season has been filled with ups and downs, but one positive is that it has allowed us to taste what true tucking away can do in our lives.
Jesus practiced tucking away all his life on earth. Here are examples where Jesus intentionally takes time alone with the Father, away from distractions: “As soon as the meal was finished, Jesus insisted that the disciples get in the boat and go on ahead to the other side while he dismissed the people. With the crowd dispersed, he climbed the mountain so he could be by himself and pray. He stayed there alone, late into the night” (Matthew 14:23 MSG). He took time to go off by himself, and he didn’t leave it to chance. He specifically took the time to pray and recharge. “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed” notes Mark 1:35 (NIV). If Jesus needed to take alone time with the Father, we certainly need to as well. We need to have that time with the Father that allows us to focus on what really matters so that we can run the race God has for us to accomplish.
While there are innumerable benefits to tucking away, we are going to highlight four important things that tucking away does in and for us:
- Tucking away nourishes us for the long haul. Just as a runner needs fuel to run the race for the long haul, we need the nourishment tucking away provides for us. Hebrews 12: 1-3 (MSG) says: “Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!” Jesus was able to endure the cross because he understood the power of tucking away with the Father. When we don’t have that set-apart time with the Lord, we miss out on the nourishment we need to stay strong in the race – and we desperately need that time with God to give us the fuel we need for life’s ups and downs.
- Tucking away teaches us to lead with our ears. Leading with our ears is so important. When we don’t take the time to tuck away, we can forget how important it is to listen before we jump to lead with our mouth. James 1:19-21 (MSG) says: “Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.” So often, we are thinking about our replies before we’ve even heard the whole answer, and that can be so counterproductive. We can also fall into the trap of thinking that we know the whole picture – and often we don’t. There is much we can gain from listening well, and tucking away helps teach us to lead with our ears and follow with our tongue.
- Tucking away allows Him to pluck away. Tucking away is so important because it allows God to pluck away those things in us that need to go. He wants us to live in His fullness. If we allow less than God’s best to take center stage in our lives, we can find ourselves operating in things that aren’t the best for us. Think about how your parents disciplined you as a child or how you discipline your own children – discipline, when done right, is done out of love and desire to see the child succeed in his or her life.
Hebrews 12:4-9 (NIV) elaborates: “In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, ‘My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.’ Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live!” Our Father wants only the best for us, and while the “plucking away” might not feel so fun in the moment, it is bringing us closer to God’s heart for us. We can have “good” things happening in our lives that aren’t God’s “best” for us, and when we allow Him to pluck away those lesser things, we can walk in the powerful plans he has for us.
- Tucking away refines His strategy for our lives. A strategy is basically a plan. When we tuck away and listen to God’s voice, we are better able to understand His strategy in our lives and to run with it. Hebrews 12: 12-13 (MSG) says: “So don’t sit around on your hands! No more dragging your feet! Clear the path for long-distance runners so no one will trip and fall, so no one will step in a hole and sprain an ankle. Help each other out. And run for it!” We are human; it can be easy for us to feel drained and unable to be strong in our purpose – and when we are tired, strategy is not our first priority. God’s strategy for our lives is so much greater and more effective than any strategy we can come up with on our own, so why wouldn’t we want what God has for us? Let’s take time to tuck away and listen to our Father’s voice and to receive the plans he has in store.
Effectively Tucking Away In a Busy World
We are all busy. Quarantining didn’t last forever, and now we are running around nearly as much as we did before. However, you can take intentional steps to tuck away from the busy world around you – and if you need to set a timer on your phone to remind you to put that phone away and spend time with God, then set that timer.
Tucking away does not look like hiding from people who sharpen you, hiding from God, or hiding out in fear. This is what it does look like: planning intentional time with the Father, turning down the noise and turning up His voice, and keeping it simple. God has so much for us; He longs for us to go deeper with Him, and when we tuck away, we are better able to hear the plans He has for us. The power of tucking away is an incredible thing, and when we intentionally take time to be alone with God, we can enjoy a deeper understanding of God’s will for each of our lives.