Just be still.
If you can accomplish just this every day then I suspect you will experience a life full of joy and peace and greatness in a way you never imagined. You will also have accomplished something I’m still working on.
Be still and listen. Let whatever comes to your mind, come, and let the thought run its course until it’s gone. If you’re like me this could take a while as thought after thought after thought marches on. Just this past week I went for a walk to chat with God, clear my head, just be alone with only him. No distractions. It was near midnight, a little chilly, but that provided a trail with only me on it. Once again I had found myself at that place of “What now?”
We’ve recently made a decision regarding a contract position that covered most of our rent. The end of this chapter could bring some big changes. That heavily discounted rent gave us the opportunity to only need one job for the both of us; one part-time job at that. It was the sudden jump in expenses that had me walking that trail so late at night, asking what now.
On that walk I spilled my heart, the fears, the worries, all of it. I’ve been believing this lie that I shouldn’t tell God my fears, thinking it would be like telling him that I didn’t really believe him, or believe in his ability, like I couldn’t show him my weakness. I needed to show him I was strong. When I realized that’s what I was doing, my mind immediately broke it apart, showing the failed logic. God already knows me, he knows my heart. He knows every hair on my body. Did I really think he didn’t know the truth of what was going on inside me? Like I could hide something from him? And what kind of relationship would we have if I felt I had to hide something from him?
So I spilled the beans, shared my fears about not being able to pay rent, the bills, and my confusions. I would pause to listen for a response, but he was pretty quiet, so I continued to spill. Then I would pause, nothing, spill some more, pause, spill and so on until there was nothing left. Coming to the end of the walk I thanked him and praised him for his goodness and just before I got to my door I heard a still, small voice, saying something I knew I had heard before. What it was I couldn’t tell you now, but I do remember Matthew 4 being mentioned and something that led me to a notebook of mine.
My entire mood had changed, even though my circumstances hadn’t. The peace of the Lord. This faith thing is incredible and indescribable. He knew exactly what he was doing, letting me get everything off my chest while teaching me something at the same time. He is very good. It was the next day when I dug into that notebook to find it there, waiting for me.
In my own handwriting I wrote to him, “What now?” And what had I written down, what had that still, small voice said to me then? Matthew 4. I had been in that same place so many times before and the last time it spurred one of the greatest studies God has ever taken me on; what it really means to seek the kingdom of God, the freedom therein, and everything I needed to be reminded of.
What is most important to God is the dreamer, not the dream. He is so much more focused on our identity than he is our purpose. It’s so easy for me to get caught up in the doing part of life, maybe because I’m a man, maybe because I’m American, maybe because it’s just my personality, or lies I’ve believed. Or maybe it’s the wounds from the past that have somehow convinced me that my worth is directly equivalent to what I accomplish while I’m here. Yet, we can neither add nor take away from the will of God. We can’t get extra credit or bonus points. We don’t earn his love or grace. We only receive it.
God gave the Jews freedom from slavery from the Egyptians, but they still had to wander the desert for 40 years. Jesus was the Son of God, destined to overcome the enemy and death itself, but he still had to suffer the cross. God gave the Israelites the Promised Land, and us too actually, but they still had to defeat their enemies. In fact, God told them they already had the victory, he was with them. So, if God already had their victory mapped out, why not just wave his hand and let the earth swallow up all the enemies? I believe because of the process, he wanted them to have to act out their faith, because he knew the process would change them for the better. Victory is ours, He is truly with us and has gone before us, but we still have to claim it. I still have to claim it.
This is why it’s so important to seek Him every day. Every day I just need to get quiet, open up to him, share, talk, listen and then trust him. Trust the Word and just focus on today. He’s got us.