The past two years found us running as fast as we could. Moving, trying new ministry expressions, pushing ahead all while doing our best to keep up with events that happened to and around us. It seemed like something over here always needed attention and something over there needed doing. List making became a moot point as more than once I found myself making lists of my lists. Sometimes we’d work and serve and do and give until it felt like we had nothing left and when we slowed down guilt was waiting in the silence to remind us what we had not done. What a ridiculous way to live! In fact, it’s not really living, at all. I know you know what I’m talking about! I’m blogging this today hoping it will help someone head into this holiday and new year season with joy and lightness of heart, not overwhelmed and exhausted.
When we moved into our new-to-us house in August, I was both grateful and uncertain when my new ‘work orders’ were – rest. Oh, good grief. I’ve blogged on rest, taught on rest and worked hard to get to rest but to know my only assignment was to rest left me unsure of what to ‘do’. That’s the point. I’m as guilty as the next person of ‘doing’ at the expense of ‘be-ing’, so was unsure how to stop the madness in order to just be.
I’ve learned a lot these past couple of months about myself and what I expect of me. About the Lord and what HE expects of me. I have learned that slowing down after years of running hard is not easy. For one thing, the body responds in strange ways. I had a headache, then felt like a cold was coming on. I was so tired and hadn’t realized, when in the midst of the madness, that my weariness was not just physical. My emotions were tired as was my mind. Stopping was more challenging than I’d ever have believed, especially because what I did not do was lie on the couch and watch television. I did not quit all the groups to which I am committed, though I did pull back a bit and not attend every meeting every time. I didn’t turn off the internet (tempting!) or become a hermit. Here is what I did do:
I recalibrated my heart to hear what the Lord was saying. Now I hear Him more clearly than I have in a long while. I don’t think He’s speaking louder: I’ve moved to be closer to Him. I readjusted my vision – my way of looking at things – so I could see things more from heaven’s perspective. I spent hours listening and not much time talking. I didn’t write at all but did read, especially the Bible. If I want to know The Word, Jesus, I need to know The Word that is written that gives testimony of Him. I prayed – a lot – mostly silently, just me and Jesus, having a chat about the condition of my heart far more than the condition of the planet. I worshipped, most often in silence. I went to the Every Home for Christ building and when it was nice weather I sat outside in the grass by the pond and pondered the life of the geese who live there. On cold, rainy days (and often on the sunny ones, too), I went inside and sat silently in their worship room, allowing the Presence of Holy Spirit to wash over me again and again.
I made a conscious effort to engage with friends and family. Relationships require tending if they are to stay vibrant and healthy. Our earthly relationships as well as our connection with the Lord require time and engagement. I don’t want to lose touch with people – or with my Lord, so I intentionally made time to be sure our heart connections are strong. There was much going on during my ‘rest’ time – and I did it all on my knees.
Oh, not literally, of course. But my heart, my soul, every part of me was enabled to become still and quiet and humble and I felt like I was living life on my knees as that was the posture of my heart. I didn’t blog, work on any manuscripts or do any public speaking, so in the natural it seemed like I was doing nothing. In fact, I was running fast and hard and a great distance in the Spirit- and I did it all on my knees. I think this is one dimension of becoming, once again, like a little child. Our granddaughter, Ella, is six and runs cross-country. She has to be encouraged to push hard to win as she just loves to run and enjoys the race!
As we enter this Thanksgiving week here in the States I can feel my season changing. Ideas are flowing; the anointing is, too. I’m energized and realize I am acutely aware of the movement of God in and around me. I have more dreams than one person needs and actually have the emotional, physical and spiritual energy to begin pursuing some of them. All this happened because I obeyed when Father said, ‘rest’, and I took time to know what that meant for me in this season. Out of rest and staying childlike, that is, ‘on my knees’ in humble obedience, fresh, new life is erupting!
My prayer, my hope, my desire for you is that whether you are in a ‘go!’ season or a season of quietness, that you encounter the reality of His nearness that is greater than any you have known. I realize not many people get the gift of two months to slow down and gain momentum, but we can all make time in our lives for more of Him. I pray you take time – even 20 minutes a day or an increase of ten minutes in what you already do – to listen, to sing, to worship and read the Word and BE. That you Love Yourself to Life by getting on your knees and staying there until He says it is time to rise. Pulling back and gaining new perspective, may you, too, run the race of life with passion and gusto as together we disciple nations and proclaim His goodness – on our knees.