I was at a Women’s Event recently and the topic was Climate Justice. One of the issues the United Methodist Women are making their women aware of this year is Climate Justice and all that entails. One of the women did a devotional on her plants and hydration. She mentioned how if she doesn’t water them they get dehydrated. As usual, this got my mind to thinking about a recent event in my own life.
As you may recall my husband was in the hospital recently with a good case of the old fashioned flu bug. Most of the time you can get over this without a hospital visit, but my husband didn’t. He didn’t because he didn’t follow some common sense rules. One, when he started feeling better he immediately went back to his regular diet instead of staying on a diet that would prove to be better for him. Two, he was so busy going from both ends (I think that is a better way to say this) that he didn’t hydrate himself so he got dehydrated. He basically got in trouble for not taking in enough liquids and keeping them down. So, his kidneys began to fail him. If he hadn’t gotten help he would have lost his kidneys and maybe even died from this. The good news is his wife was not going to let that happen. I made sure he got into the hospital, got help and then stayed on a sensible diet until his stomach could handle his normal routine. I helped him through this.
Saturday as I was listening to her devotional and thinking about my husband I realized there are times I let myself get dehydrated from God and His word. Dehydrated means dry out, scorch or burn and after seeing the results from my husband it is not a pretty sight. I do pretty good most times of the year. My biggest fight with dehydration comes during the Holidays. I know you’re thinking with Advent Studies, cantatas at Christmas and all the extra Christmas Eve services that’s not possible, but trust me it is. This year because of my schedule I was not able to do an Advent Study. I did enjoy our church’s music cantata. When it came to Christmas Eve services I always make a point to go to them. This year I was not able to go. So, I began the process of drying out pretty quickly. When I am in Indiana I am pretty much consumed with my daughters, sons-in-laws and grandchildren. We have a tendency to stay up late and visit, (because the little ones are in bed) I get up early to help Mom with breakfast and getting them dressed, and then it’s off. We celebrate, play, laugh and have fun. I put reading my Bible and often times my praying on hold. Now I know this is okay. I don’t beat myself up, but when I make it back to Texas I find I am dehydrated; sometimes worse than others.
In our days of busy schedules and jam packed lives we often put things on hold or think we will get to them later. Those things are often reading the Bible, spending time alone with God and praying. I often think, “Ok, I missed it this morning, but before I go to bed I will get it done.” Bedtime comes and I am either exhausted or ready to crash or have long forgotten about my time alone.
Missing out a few times isn’t bad, but when we allow ourselves to do it too often we begin to feel the results. We just don’t feel right; we know we are missing something, but we often dismiss it. My husband would grab sips of water, coke and anything that would help with the dry mouth. The problem with that was he wasn’t taking in as much as he should. We often do that. We feel we are running low so we quickly say a pray or grab the Bible and read a verse and think we’ve done well. But, just like my husband it isn’t enough.
One of the things my hubby did was when he got to feeling a little better he’d go back to his same routine and eat the same things he was before. His stomach was not hydrated or healed enough and he’d start all over again. I am guilty of this. I grab my Bible read several chapters or pray for several times a day and think I am doing okay. The next thing I know I am off and running again without much change in my habit. Before long I am back to where I was before. Instead of trying to get dehydrated all at once I need to slowly and steady add it back into my schedule; make it a routine. When I am steady and slow and take time to ponder what I am reading or praying about it is more effective than just grabbing a few verses or praying quickly just to make myself feel good. I may feel good for awhile, but often times that emptiness comes back.
That’s where I found myself this year. Along with spending time with family I was concerned about my husband. I was not hydrating myself and staying healthy. When I got back I was at the point where my husband was before I took him to the hospital. That first week I was bombarded with meetings, appointments and volunteering. I was too busy and wasn’t able to get drenched and hydrated enough. The second week come and I knew if I didn’t get hydrated I was going to be like my husband and be in real trouble. So, slowly each day I began my day with prayer. I slowly added devotional time and Bible reading back into my daily routine. I was feeling much better.
I have started a Bible Study by Priscilla Shirer. The name of the one we are doing is Breathe. It’s about putting the Sabbath back into your life. Now to show you how bad I am on the first day of class I had an appointment and wasn’t going to make the first day. I made sure the leader knew this. That morning I got a text from the appointment. I was going to have to reschedule my appointment. I was excited I had the morning for myself. I could get things accomplished that were on the back burner. After a little while I suddenly remembered my class. God had canceled my appointment so I could go and what did I do? I didn’t go. I thought about all the things I needed to accomplish and putting the Sabbath back into my life was not one of them. I think I really need this class.
“Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.’” John 4:13-14 When we are thirsty and we need to hydrate ourselves we need to seek the one who gives us water that will quench our thirst. When we get away from drinking the living water that God gives us we will eventually become dehydrated. We may wither up and lose all function in our lives. It’s only when we drink from the Living Water that we will be hydrated and healed.
Greg let his dehydration get out of hand. I have seen the results and I don’t want to go there. We need to stay hydrated so we can do the work God has called us to do, so we can offer this Living Water to others. Once again as years in past I have promised to stay hydrated by drinking the Living Water God has offered to me. I am going to listen and study Priscilla’s suggestions to add some Sabbath to my life.
How is your hydration? What kind of water are you drinking to stay hydrated? Are you soaking up the Living Water so you won’t thirst again or are you like I have been just grabbing anything I can get my hands on? Just like plants will die if they are not properly watered with the right amount daily or weekly we too will fade away. The doctors when dismissing my husband suggested he stay hydrated and take in lots of liquids for awhile. Like me I encourage you to stay hydrated with the Living Water God offers to each of us.
Dear God: thank you for lessons that teach us and guide our paths. I know I have come close to where my husband was in the hospital. I am so thankful for the Living Water you give us to drink. I know when I drink from this water daily I thirst very little. May I learn to stay hydrated even in those busy seasons of my life. As I study Priscilla’s book may I look at my own life. Show me as I study where and how to add Sabbath to my life. Help me to seek your will and not live my life for others. In all these things I give you honor and thanks. Amen.