The Power of Full Dis-Engagement

One of the top concepts in the corporate world these days is “the power of full engagement.” It’s a paradigm for managing your personal or organizational energy, and I think you would find it very helpful.

But recently I’ve been learning about the flipside of that concept: the power of full DISENGAGEMENT.

Let me explain why this is so important…

My baby blue 1976 Fiat was the favorite car I’ve ever owned. With 5-speed manual transmission and a responsive engine, it was a complete blast to drive.

But sometimes my Fiat was so much fun that I forgot to press the clutch before changing gears. The result was a horrible grinding sound, not to mention considerable embarrassment on my part. And occasionally my failure to press the clutch even resulted in the engine stalling.

Lately I’ve realized that God is getting me ready for a new season in my life, and I’ve thought about the lesson I learned years ago with that old Fiat: If you’re going to make a smooth transition from one gear (or season) to the next, you’d better press the clutch first.

In many ways, this seems a great paradox. In order to be fully engaged with the next gear, you must first take time to be fully disengaged  from your present gear. Shortcuts simply don’t work. In fact, shortcuts will eventually cause permanent damage to the gears.

No one modeled the power of disengagement better than Jesus. When He saw that His disciples were facing burnout because of never-ending activity, He instructed them to “come apart” to a quiet place and get some rest (Mark 6:31 KJV). Then and now, those who don’t intentionally disengage from their daily grind on a regular basis will eventually “come apart” (i.e., fall apart) in unpleasant, unintentional ways.

Jesus realized the POWER in disengagement, especially when we use that time to better engage with our Heavenly Father. We repeatedly see Him disengaging from the crowds, and even from His disciples, to go pray in the wilderness or on top of a mountain. What was the result of such times? Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit” (Luke 4:14).

Isn’t that beautiful? After Jesus purposefully disengaged for a while, He was able to reengage with new strength and power.

Today, do you find yourself anticipating a new season in your life, but unsure how to get there? Or perhaps you feel stuck in “second gear,” unable to move on. Or maybe you keep hearing a loud screeching sound every time you try to move from one gear to the next.

If you can relate to any of these symptoms, I encourage you to discover—or rediscover, like I have—the power of full disengagement. Leave your friends and family for a few days. Disconnect from your work responsibilities, your smart phone, and your social media. Find a place to quiet your heart and rest.

As you take time to disengage and be still, you’ll experience the powerful message of Psalm 46:10: He is God—and you’re not! That is really, really good news, isn’t it?


I would love to preach at your church or conference, be a consultant to your leadership team, or help your organization navigate the waters of transition. You can reach me at

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3 thoughts on “The Power of Full Dis-Engagement

  1. Excellent thought, Jim. I have difficulty transitioning in my own life because my tendency is to want to keep my foot in the door of the old so it won’t fully close behind me. With the door behind closed, or the ships burned, as I heard in another such analogy, the only way to go is forward.

    This present season of difficulty in my life has forced me to look anew at where I am going. No foot in the old door, but boldly entering into the life that God is opening before me. Shoot, I think I’ll get half way across the room and toward my goal before I ever hear the door close behind me when I decide to enter the path opened before me with anticipation and hope. There is nothing quite like the anticipation of something special waiting for you! It quickens the step!

  2. God always seems to take Jim’s thoughts to a level deeper than anyone else I know. Whenever I read one of his blog’s I already know that, no matter the topic, he will offer some degree of insight at least one step beyond what I’ve ever considered about it.
    I can say the same thing about many other wellknown Bible teachers. Though they may offer a certain degree of revelation on a spiritual matter – whether its Charles Stanley, A.C. Sproles, Stephen Furtick, A.W. Tozer, Oswald Chambers, Joseph Prince – or any of the other teachers, past or present, that have gained large numbers of followers – Jim is the only teacher I know who ALWAYS opens my eyes a little wider to what God wants people to know. I read his posts, not to see what Jim wants to say, but to hear what God wants to say. And he always conveys it in a spirit of kindness and humility – another way I know its from Jesus.

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