Escape rooms have been around for a while. Depending on whom you believe, a Japanese man came up with concept in 2007 or a guy in Budapest created the idea in 2011. These adventure games require critical thinking by solving puzzles through clues, hints, and strategies. There are fixed rooms and there are video games to challenge the most daring thrill-seekers. Companies and universities use escape rooms to provide a release for the over-stressed and over-worked. Like most other things, people get obsessed. You can confront zombies, pirates, terrorists, or kidnappers. You can find yourself trapped in a prison or a space station, looking for clues to break out. Since finding the secret to solve the puzzle is time-sensitive, you can also freak out.

Escape rooms? That sounds like a great idea for someone with the toughest job in the world … dealing with preschoolers. How about a person whose heart was broken over a failed relationship? Or the kicker who blew the game-winning field goal? Or the business woman who botched negotiations for a big deal in her company? Or the guy who sees no way out when life crushes his dreams?

There are times for all of us when escape sounds really good. Escape can be harmful when we are just trying to avoid reality. We can live in a fantasy world just so long before there are negative consequences. However, there are healthy ways to escape. Just changing up our routine might help. Recreation can truly be re-creation for the mind, body, and soul. Practicing the discipline of solitude can help us get centered.

That’s what Jesus did. There were times when He needed to escape … the demands of the crowds, the pressure of mentoring the disciples, facing the constant attacks of His enemies. The Bible records that Jesus would pull away, find a quiet place, and commune with His Father.

If escaping replenishes us and empowers us to stay the course, we owe it to ourselves, the people we love, and the commitments we have made to find a way. We weren’t created to run on fumes!

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About Mark Wilbanks

Dr. Wilbanks became Wieuca’s fifth senior pastor in February of 2012. Mark’s father, Oliver Wilbanks, served as Associate Pastor here from 1966 to 1982. Wieuca had a tremendous influence in shaping Mark’s call to ministry during his teenage and young adult years. A graduate of both Southern and New Orleans Baptist Theological seminaries, Mark has served churches in Kentucky, Florida, and Georgia. He pastored Southside Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida for 17 years and Bradfordville First Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Florida for ten years. He and his wife, Kim, were married in 1979 and have two sons, Andy and Jordan. Andy is married to Lindsay and they have a son, Cade, a daughter, Ruthie, and welcomed their third child, Samuel, in October.

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