Monday, April 9, 2012

Be Still.

This blog has been silent for a few days too many.  My email inbox is overrun.  My facebook messages, what with their parentheses around how many I have yet to even open and how many more I have opened and left unanswered.  I give a guilty glance every time I log in, yet when I try to get down to bid-ness, I am always spirited away from my desktop.

The term "spirited away" can mean a number of things for the A* Team, namely:
a) some person under three feet tall, known in this house as the potty-dweller needs bathroom assistance of some sort yet again.  How can someone so small...nevermind.
b) another small person is hollering for the fiftieth time at the top.of.her.lungs. about needing a drink.  If that kid was a social networking status, she would be all caps, BTW. 
c) a third person, the tiniest of the Team, has either scaled to the countertop in the kitchen as though it be Mt. Everest, while shouting something unintelligible regarding his victory over the big people who naively think it is enough to put up every chair and stool in the house on a higher plane, or has wedged himself uncomfortably into a small space.

I kid you not, I just got spirited away again for the "I need a drink." 

Perfect timing, don't you think?

I took a frivolous trip last week.  
Don't get me wrong, it was a planned trip.  But the timing of said trip was pure frivolity.  I had been involved with a women's retreat the last full weekend of March, only to return home, do some laundry (alright fine. Seth did it.) and climb aboard a plane headed thousands of miles west, where my brother and his family currently reside.  Mind you, it was the week before Passion Week and Easter, which included two songs to prepare, a worship set to create, and a brand-new worship service to help organize, not to mention two weeks before a lot of ladies hit Bicknell for a little thing called Lightbearers 2012 - something that has been in the works for a very long time.

If I had thought ahead, which in all honesty I'm not prone to do (If you hear an Amen from the back, it could be from a number of folks), I would have never planned the trip for that week.  In fact, I had a freakout one or two days before my flight was scheduled to take place, wherein I basically told Seth in no uncertain terms that I should not go because I was not sure how all of these 67,000 things would get done if I up and left, and did he know that a couple of people had told me how they didn't think I should be away from family that long and wasn't I worried about leaving my kids so much when they have trouble with attachment and why am I missing one of my Bible Studies for two whole weeks in a row and did he think that everyone was right?  Maybe I should just stay here.  Annnnd cue tears.

My husband is a good man.  He could see just by my breakdown how badly I needed to be on that plane.  How tired I was.  How life, even the sweetest parts of it, can wear somebody out.  How expectations, mostly from self, can be the undoing of somebody.

How that wife of his can ignore her body and her mind and her spirit and her Savior all shouting to please be still.  He put me on that plane at his own risk* because he knows this restless heart of mine, he loves me, and he listens to what I'm not saying.  He shows me Jesus when he's protecting me from my second greatest adversary - my own self.

I boarded that plane with all manner of trepidation and sat down in that (tiny, tiny) seat, and I learned something quickly.  I was scared of the silence. So scared that I filled it up with all of the things I needed to accomplish, which led to guilt instead of enjoyment.  

My dear friends did not make me feel guilty for going - those who truly love me totally understood, but I sure heaped condemnation on myself for needing a break.   

Thanks to Jesus, toward the end of the trip, I had grown to appreciate the silence, the stillness, the three books read cover to cover, the hikes over some of the most beautiful areas in the US, the simple joy of sitting down at the dinner table and staying there, snuggling under covers with my three beautiful nieces.  I discovered once again that in stillness, there is beauty.  The last eighteen months in particular have made stillness a scarce sort of acquaintance, and this trip reminded me that I need to have a bit more margin in my life in order to find His voice in the sound of sheer silence, as Elijah did upon the mountain.

Interestingly enough, I had just recently started using (albeit not regularly enough*) an online coaching website for scripture memorization, and had felt impressed by the Lord to pick a psalm to which I had not paid much attention.  Until now.  That psalm just happened to be Psalm 46.

In all honesty, I had never spent much time in Psalm 46 because I felt it was pretty much pointless to ask someone like me to be quiet.  I got that whole know He is God thing down, but shut up?  It would take an act of God to get me to hush!  Plus, I didn't feel the need to remind God that quiet at this house stopped the day He dropped three great balls of fire on my doorstep.  

I believe that is precisely WHY He led me to work on memorizing Psalm 46.

 God is our refuge and strength,
   an ever-present help in trouble.
 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
   and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
   and the mountains quake with their surging.
 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
   the holy place where the Most High dwells.
 God is within her, she will not fall;
   God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
   he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
  The LORD Almighty is with us;
   the God of Jacob is our fortress.
 Come and see the works of the LORD,
   the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth;
   he breaks the bow and shatters the spear,
   he burns the shields with fire.
 “Be still, and know that I am God;
   I will be exalted among the nations,
   I will be exalted in the earth.”
 11 The LORD Almighty is with us;
   the God of Jacob is our fortress.

It's not just about being quiet.  It's a reminder to yes, clamp my mouth down occasionally, but it's also so much more than that.  It's a mandate to STOP STRIVING.  To STOP running the maze and let His glory be revealed in my exhaustion, in my inability to get it all done, in my need for rest.

To quit trying to spin all 67,000 plates in front of God and everybody, and just every once in a while, let one or two drop and that all of those eyes watching me can see the only One able to pick up the pieces.  If my need for Jesus is masked because of my striving for perfection, how will my life reveal my personal knowledge in the deepest part of me that He alone is God?  

The plates may shatter, and that's okay, because He is within me, so I never will.

I am finite.  He is infinite.  
I lack the ability to be everywhere at once.  He pretty much owns that.
I am not all-powerful.  He's got the market cornered on power.  
Last time I checked, I am not a mind reader, which has led to no small amount of dismay. He knows it all.  

Unlike my first assumptions about this scripture, I am learning that the invitation to be still and know He is God is one that brings us relief.  He is God, so we don't have to be.  I don't need to do God's job, and so I can truly find sweet rest in the knowledge that He has planned to exalt Himself using, of all things, our weakest moments, our weary bodies, and our brokenness.  So enjoy, my friends, the stillness that comes in our hearts with knowing that HE is God.

*see a,b,c above


Nicole said...

I love you! I love your heart, and how the Lord speaks through you. You amaze me, friend! Miss you!

Debbie/Carlos said...

Amen, Sistah! I, again, am inspired by what the Lord has spoken through you! His revealing His infinite and perfect power, wisdom, timing, et cetera... through our inevitable weakness and calling it beautiful is a concept He has been leading me through, as well! :) I love you and thank God for you and the whole A team intertwining in both of our very messy lives. :) I love you, LaToya!