Finally, I have a new computer desk and my computer is back up and running!!!
I must admit I felt rather lost for awhile without them and my life felt rather chaotic when my office was in such disarray.
And yet, this has been good for me since it has forced me to not be so accessible or available via the computer. And although I love to write this was in many ways an invitation to set it aside for a time and to enter into a time of more deep intimacy with my Heavenly Father, the One who stands outside the door of all the noise and busyness of my life….it was an invitation to commune with Him, in quiet and solitude. I wish I could tell you it was easy….that I effortlessly found the time to set aside all the work, all the “to do” lists, and all the expectations of others…. sorry to say it was a battle even though I knew the Lord was calling me into a time of solitude and silence, and the priceless opportunity to experience freedom from the bondage to human expectations.
God was inviting me to be still and to know….to get beyond my need for noise, words, people and performance based activity.
I’ve been down this road before….the place where my performance based activity was drowning me again, leaving me gasping for air. My body was begging for rest, my spirit felt depleted, and my soul longed for peace.
A precious friend shared something with me that changed my focus. She asked me why did I feel the need to make myself so available to others?? Good question, she even went so far as to offer one simple little change that did wonders for me…turn off my cell phone when I went for my daily walks….wow, why hadn’t I thought of that?? Why did I feel I needed to be available all the time, no matter where, and no matter what….I can honestly say that little word, “available” offered me a new way of thinking!!!
Ruth Haley Barton said it best in her book, An Invitation to Silence and Solitude: “While our way of life may seem heroic, there is a frenetic quality to our activity that is disturbing to those around us. When we do have discretionary time, we indulge in escapist behaviors-such as compulsive eating, drinking, spending, watching television-because we are too tired to choose activities that are truly life-giving.”
I came to realize as I cut back on my busyness, as I shut off all the technology, that on a deeper level I kept myself so busy, so available because if I stopped long enough to acknowledge my emotions I was afraid of being overcome by those feelings, feelings I would much rather not feel!! Or that I might have to face past or present losses and the emotions they invoked, or a big one for me is the emotion that engulfs me when I feel powerless to choose the kind of life I know that I am meant to live, what does one do with unfulfilled desires and longings?
It feels much too risky to enter into these poorly lit spaces in our souls….and yet, the Lord calls us into these places…and it is there that He ministers to our body, soul and spirit.
As I took the time and studied Elijah in 1 Kings 19:1-10 what struck me the most was when Elijah came to the broom tree and slept. It was here that the Lord ministered to him, gave him food and water and let him rest. God gave Elijah permission to rest, allowing his physical weariness and depletion to take priority, waking him and feeding him when it was time and then telling him to go back to sleep.
This Scripture meant so much to me as I acknowledged that I too was feeling drained…it gave me permission to rest. To give myself the freedom to notice my weariness and fatigue with compassion….and so as often as I could I would find a comfy chair and sit outside under a shady tree, and simply “be” in His presence…..I must admit that at the beginning I would fall asleep rather quickly and struggled with thinking that this was just a waste of time. But I persevered and permitted my tiredness to be what it was and see what God would do. No guilt, no shame, no judgment….just giving myself permission to notice how tired I was and to hear God’s invitation to rest.
It just might be that the most spiritual thing I have done so far this summer, to get more rest so that I am attentive when I need to be, not so tired and distracted that I no longer hear the voice of the Lord ….what freedom to allow solitude and silence as an opportunity to rest in God.
I found there is a very deep kind of refreshment when I began to incorporate rest into my times alone with God.
It was in this time of rest that like Elijah I heard God in the silence!!!
As Dallas Willard put it: “Silence is frightening because it strips us as nothing else does, throwing us upon the stark realities of our life. It reminds us of death, which will cut us off from this world and leaves only us and God. And in the quiet, what if there turns out to be very little between us and God?”
I encourage you, especially during the busy summer months, take times of rest, of quiet and solitude, shutting out the noises of the world, being less available and choosing to become fully aware of God with you in these moments, loving you and extending compassion to you just as He did Elijah.
Hear the words of Jesus speaking to you: “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest.”