For the Schaeffers, shuttering their home in the Alps to the constant stream of seekers was easier said than done. The needs were unending, the requests for counsel and support unrelenting.
As a strategic player in the mountain retreat at L’Abri, time and again Edith Schaeffer wore out as she unbolted her heart and home to hundreds of students coming to her theologian and philosopher husband, hoping to renew their minds and rediscover faith.
For Edith, the revelation that doors have locks as well as hinges, created an openness to recover a healthy balance between personal, home and ministry life. Regularly closing the door to renew and refresh her own mind, as well as enjoy the family God had given her, required grit and a commitment to God’s Word, renewal and rest.
The post-modern Christian woman functions as if doors only have hinges. The gates swing wide open for the needs of family, friends, neighbors and colleagues. Everyone has access.
Opportunities to renew the mind through reading, rest, prayer, solitude or reflection seems indulgent rather than indispensable.
The predictable fatigue, discouragement and negativity generates confusion and guilt. Serving becomes a burden, relationships crack, joy evaporates, exhaustion overwhelms as we react to life and the next pressing need.
We wonder what has gone wrong with our souls.
Author, Phillip Gulley, expresses our dilemma with these words: “Elton Trueblood talked about how we’re a cut flower world. We sever things from their life source and expect them to flourish. And we cut ourselves off from God and are dismayed when our lives wilt and fade…..We want joy and beauty, but we want them without having to stay connected to the One who gives them.”
A renewed mind is a beautiful and joyful thing. A renewed and healthy mind flourishes when we attach to the One who restores both mind and soul. It requires grit and a commitment to barring the door and spending time only with Him.
So, pull the shades. Turn off the phone. Pretend no one is home if you must. Remember doors have both hinges and locks.
Spend time alone with God and renew your mind and heart.
“Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.” Matthew 6:6, The Message
Kay Swatkowski is a mother of four, grandmother of three, former teacher and women’s and children’s ministry director. She currently counsels at Compass Christian Counseling at Northpoint Church. She is passionate about coaching parents as they develop a lifelong relationship with their kids.