We are formally finished with our church covenant. I mentioned it back in January...(I'll pause while you search the archives...)
Anywho...part of our covenant time was to include fasting one day a week for a 24-hour period. I take medication every day for blood sugar control, so the idea of fasting food wasn't working for me--in the sense that if I let my blood sugar drop, I become very nauseated, sweaty, cold--to the point that I can barely eat if I try to. I tried fasting food a few years ago, and by about 4 pm, I truly thought someone was going to have to take me to the hospital. I say all of that to say...I wanted to participate. I did not want to just dismiss the notion all together! The point was to do a physical/food fast. What to do?
I deemed it ok to do a noise/media fast instead. It worked toward the same end of making space and time for God. It shut out what I often use as a replacement for God-time. Every Sunday night the TV/stereo would go off at 7 pm. Most of these evenings I was able to spend a chunk of time reading, writing, listening, talking, etc. On Monday, even though the work day included some natural noise, there was no internet radio or itunes going in the background...
I started looking back at my journal entries from the past few months (I write SOME things you don't get to see!), I realized that the Lord had spoken very clearly...when I allowed Him to. Know what He said?
That was the crux of it. Each entry seemed to have that idea as a theme in some way. Yes, I know He has already said that in Psalm 46:10, "Be still and know that I am God." Of all the verses in the Bible, I do have that one hanging on a wall in my house.
But what does it mean to "be still?"
The Lord has been desperately trying to teach me how to REST...in HIM. The kind of rest that has nothing to do with lying on a beach all day reading a book, and "getting away from it all." But active resting that comes from submitting my plans to Him, trusting Him to take care of me and mine, and allowing Him to oversee my spiritual progress. The kind of rest that comes from laying down my need to plan every little thing, to run around trying to take care of everything, and trying to be a good Christian by my own sheer will. He promises to GIVE US REST (note He does not offer up a cruise to the Bahamas--the idea seems to be that He will teach us how to live lives of rest).
I was so struck by how THE MESSAGE put this verse from Matthew 11:28-30:
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."
My resting not only helps me RECOGNIZE that He's God, it allows me to ACKNOWLEDGE that He is God. Many of us believe that God exists, but so many of us try to do His job by steering our own lives and activities. We essentially strip Him of His omnipotence when we fill our days with mindless activity and banter that leaves no room for Him to BE (fill in the blank) for us. We have so much to say that we squeeze Him out of our conversations. We have so many things on the to do list that we shut Him out of even our errands. We have to watch this or that, and are content to let the TV tell us what to think or do or what to buy or what is cool.
If I had any of this down pat, I wouldn't be writing such a painfully long blog entry about it. He has been working on me for five months, and I still struggle to let Him BE.