Ten minutes. No phone. No television. No music. No to do list. No background noise. No conversation. Just you and a comfortable spot to sit. Ten minutes with just yourself and the Lord. What would that be like?
I challenged myself to that today. I did it. Ten minutes soaking in surrendered stillness.
Now, don’t get some crazy idea that I am living in the lap of luxury as an at home mom, eating bonbons with plenty of time to spare. I have at least 103 different tasks and responsibilities that could easily use up that ten minutes of time. I could continue to go, go, go and do, do, do. Ten minutes of stillness, it sounds nice, but not realistic.
This morning I surrendered. I really felt that I needed ten minutes to just be still. So I did it. I wish I could say that those ten minutes were the best ten minutes I’ve had in a long time; that it was an experience rich with revelation, wisdom and a sweet refreshment like I have never tasted before. I wish I could say those things, but I can not.
My ten minutes. They were nice. Perhaps even a bit awkward at first, but definitely pleasant by the time my timer went off. I am somewhat surprised that I didn’t fall asleep. But, like I said earlier I do have 103 other things that are vying for my attention.
As I did my best to be still, it was odd the things that crossed my mind. It was a little of this and a little of that – like scanning through the radio on a morning commute, a smattering of partial statements and thoughts.
For a portion of the time I listened to my own breathing, attempting to connect with the rhythms of my own body. How is it that we can so easily pass over something so critical and regular in our lives, paying no attention to it at all?
I think the hardest thing about this time was making the choice to take it. I have been thinking about the idea on and off for a few days now. Days. If I accumulated all of the time spent in thought about this idea I would probably have several ten minute time segments.
I even toyed around with this thought. Each hour has 6 ten minute time segments. There are 24 hours in a day. That would make 144 ten minute time segments in each day. So now I’m really not sure what my problem was dedicating one of the 144 ten minute time segments to being still.
Wait, I do know. I needed to surrender that ten minutes. I needed to let go of the other many things that could fill that block of time. It is incredible the ways I try to rationalize things with myself, as if I could nearly convince myself that I could multitask stillness with something else…dishes, laundry, a walk, a nap.
I kept coming back to the point that I just needed to soak in surrendered stillness. For a while I got stuck on the word soak, and let visions of bubble baths float through my head. That still sounds like a pleasant option I may have to pursue sometime soon.
Surrender. Let go. Stop trying so hard. Discontinue my efforts to figure it all out. Lay down that to do list and put down the inventory of intentions that I have for the day. Give up control of the drivers seat in the rat race.
"Be still and know that I am God" Psalm 46:10a (NIV) "Cease striving and know that I am God" Psalm 46:10a (NASB) "Step out of traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, Your High God" Psalm 46:10a (Message)
Be still. Cease striving. Step out of traffic. Remove ourselves from the rat race. Ten minutes to be still. Be still and know God.
Why does this concept seem both so simple and so hard at the same time?
We just can not be still on the go. If we want to soak, to immerse ourselves, to marinate until we become saturated in stillness we have to stop. Soaking takes place in one spot. If I am soaking a pan after dinner, I leave it in the kitchen sink submersed in water. I do not fill it will soapy water and carry it around the house while I do other things. That sounds silly.
That silly thought has a bit of a sting to it, as I realize that is probably how I have been trying to soak in God’s love for me lately. I’ll just pour a bit of God’s word in me to allow it to soak while I carry it around from responsibility to responsibility. I probably spill a bit hear and a bit there while I flit all over.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe deeply and passionately about carrying scripture with me. I am a huge fan of verses on note cards that I read, read and reread through out my days. There is a place for that. The point I am trying to make here is when I try to throwback a bit of scripture quickly with only partial focus because my eyes, my thoughts and my hands are already onto the next task at hand.
One of the definitions of the word “soak” on webster.com is to “penetrate or affect the mind or feelings”. When I read that, it was like a huge flashing neon light was turned on in front of me. If I want the surrendered stillness to affect my mind and my feelings, to really penetrate down into my heart, I needed to soak in it.
Why is it that God would want us to be still?…to know that He is God.
What happens to us when we soak in the stillness, when we take the focus off of the responsibilities of the day and know that He is God? We can feel His love. We can know His love. It can affect our mind and our feelings.
I surrender and confess that I need that right now. I need love to affect my mind and feelings. There have definitely been some overcast thoughts and sorrowful feelings running through my mind lately. Thoughts of doubting my value and worth. Feeling deeply downcast with ideas that perhaps my notions of helping were actually frustrating and hurting others.
I feel like what I have been wrestling with inside has been showing on the outside to greater degree. My recent countenance has felt like it has been consumed by a pensive furrowed brow instead of rosy cheeks and sweet, joy filled smiles.
What about you, my dear reader? How are your thoughts and feelings? What has your schedule been like? Do you need to set aside ten minutes to soak in surrendered stillness?
By Personal Invitation
With a still small voice, the Lord invites each of us individually and personally to be with Him. He invites us to be still and to know that He is God.
What a difference an invitation is over a demand.
Why invite us each individually and personally? Because the Lord loves us all. How incredible is it that the Lord who works miracles wants to spend time with us!
The Lord wants to be engaged with our thoughts and our feelings. That is a pretty incredible gift to ponder. Not to mention that God is willing to walk right into our stormy feelings and overcast thoughts. How many people in our lives are really willing to do that? God does it out of His love for us and because He’s a God who has practice calming storms.
Do we trust the Lord enough to accept His invitation and give ten minutes of our time to be still and know that He is God; ten minutes soaking in surrendered stillness?
Thank You so much for helping me to surrender today. I am so sorry for all of the times I hear Your invitation, but do not accept it. Thank You for Your enduring patience with me. Lord, I deeply appreciate Your willingness to engage in my thoughts and feelings through all the awesome, good, bad and ugly.
Lord, I lift up all of my readers to You today. I pray that my words would create opportunities for You to work in their lives. May my blog be a bridge to many good and joy filled blessings for each of them. Lord, please bless each of their tender hearts with the knowledge that they are a precious treasure and a beautiful gift. Help them to find joy in accepting the invitation to soak in surrendered stillness.
In the loving name of Jesus, amen.