Yesterday, I packed the tools of my quiet respite at the beach – my Bible and commentaries, my bible studies and books, candles and bubble bath, tea bags, comfy jammies, beachwear, Ipod and four-legged sidekick, and headed home.  The beach-side restaurants, t-shirt shops and dolphin-watching tour stands gave way to the expressway, skyscrapers, Target and gas stations offering a gallon of gas for $4.12.

Reality.  Sometimes enough to suck the life right out of you.
As I made my way toward home, my thoughts started to shift.  The brain space that had just an hour earlier been filled with the fullness of God was now being filled with the fullness of my to-do list.  Really, I wanted to turn right around and go back.  I liked it there, just me and God (And Riley, too.  He’s a very spiritual dog.).  But I didn’t.  I kept driving home.
While those intense times away with God are crucial, we will never be effective fulfillers of the Great Commission if we hole up indefinitely.  He needs us out in reality, on the front lines.  I can and must still spend time with Him alone everyday, but then I have to put what I’ve learned into practice in those skyscrapers, at Target, and, yes, even at the gas station!  Those people need to know that there is a Respite from their reality waiting to fold them up in His arms.  If we stay there all the time, who’s going to tell them?
I think of Moses after he spent 40 days and nights up on the mountain in the presence of God. Can you imagine how he must have felt, knowing he had to leave that sweet communion and go back down the mountain to reality? Certainly, upon seeing the chaos that awaited him (a bunch of idol-worshipping Israelites that forgot about God quicker than you can say “Ten Commandments”), He wanted to run right back up to the top, but he didn’t – at least not until he went to make atonement for the Israelites’ sin.  Instead, full to the brim with God, he faced the issues of his reality head-on and did the Father’s work. (story in Exodus 32)
As pleasant as it is to enjoy concentrated time alone with God, we’ve got to come down off the mountain (or home from the beach).  Full to the brim with God, we’ve got to spill over to our fellow man and infiltrate our everyday reality.