Many thanks to those of you who continue to pray for my recovery (I’m better, but still congested in the sinuses). I appreciate you!
Also, as I mentioned in my post yesterday, I set a goal to have an hour of stillness with the Lord (since I saw Psalm 46:10 in several different places yesterday), and I was praying that the Lord would show me a place where I could find this time with Him. Some of you prayed in this direction, as well, and I really appreciate it! I also promised to report back to you whether or not I did it, and how things went.
This verse from the book of Mark came to mind as i antiicpated this assignment. Would I be able to hang out with the Lord, even for “even one hour,” or would I be like the disciples and fall asleep instead?
First off, I never intended for this stillness project to be completed so quickly! Funny how God works – super quick in some things, and clearly in no particular hurry in others. Here’s how things went down today:
I happened to be at my mother’s house earlier this evening, helping her with a project. Then, she and my stepfather left for choir rehearsal, and she asked, “Are you staying here at the house, or will you go? I responded, “Do you want me to stay?” She countered, “You’re welcome to stay. Rehearsal should be fairly quick, no more than an hour or so.”
Immediately my ears perked up, so I decided to stay, and figured this was my chance. After all, I’d have the whole house to myself in relative peace (my Mom has quite a collection of clocks, so the sound of ticking can be heard in most areas of the house).
I was resolved to do this hour of stillness thing, so I divested myself of my iPhone (placed in another room to charge) and my FitBit (so I wouldn’t be tempted to glance at something with a screen) and sat back in one of her recliners. “Bring on the stilness,” I thought.
Let me tell you what happened.
It took my mind a good thirty minutes to calm down. My mind was all over the place with popcorn-like thoughts! I had made a big decision earlier in the day about one matter, so that was on my mind, and then I was waiting to hear back from another person about a secondary issue, so my thoughts were going a mile a minute. I thought to myself, “Actually doing Psalm 46:10 is harder than it seems.”
I realized that I was going nowhere fairly quickly, so I decided to rehearse the truth that I knew. I remembered that the Psalms and most of the New Testament were written by people who were going through less-than-ideal circumstances, who cried out to God in their trials, and just happened to write their thoughts down. I’m sure that neither David nor Paul anticipated how much influence his heartfelt words and prayers would have, yet God used these men to provide comfort and solace to others – and their words do the same for us today, too.
So I started there.
I also remembered that the Bible is full of exampes of people recounting God’s past faithfulness to them or others they knew (Psalm 103 comes to mind), and so I started doing that, too. I cast my mind back to the ways in which God had worked miracles – both small and large – in my life this year alone, and then started going back further than then, too.
Then, I recalled a podcast I had heard only earlier today about the armor of God, and that the enemy’s only effective weapon against us is deception. Our only effective defense to such attacks is to respond with the truth found in the Bible, so then I started saying aloud [by the way, my definition of stillness doesn’t mean “quiet” – it means what the Amplified version of Psalm 46:10 get at – the idea that I “cease striving”] some of the doubts, worries, and other concerns that have been on my mind. I reminded myself that when I worry, the enemy is trying to convince me that God will not take care of me. “That’s a lie!” I said aloud.
Then I thought about the feelings of discontentment that I experience more often than I’d like – remember that even though this blog is called Daily Thankful, I still struggle (sometimes mightily) with my own issues around gratitude and contentment. My pride impels me to focus on what I lack, rather than what I possess, and I recognized that that was another ploy of the enemy’s as well – getting me to think that the Lord was withholding something good from me (check out Genesis 3 – it’s the same trick he pulled on Eve back in the garden of Eden. Clearly, it still works). I again said aloud, “That is not true!”
I started noticing that my mind was beginning to settle.
Then, I reflected on what I either knew or had read in the Bible about the Lord. I spoke these truths out loud, too. A trick I have is to recite them alphabetically, so I just ran them off like so: “Awesome, benevolent, compassionate,” etc. Admittedly, I get a little hung upon D, X, and Z, but I’m good to go with the other twenty-three letters. 😀
I recognized, then, that I had hit the place where I was finally still and knew that God was God. it was a nice place to be. I decided to hang out for awhile.
So, I thanked God for the areas of my life where He’s brought healing – emotional, physical, psychological, etc. I thanked Him for this blog and the friends I’ve made here. I tried to remember as many things (and poeple) as I could, and simply said “Thank You.”
I looked at the clock. Fifty-minutes had passed! (remember, though, it took me awhile to get started) I decided to keep going.
I then brought up – verbally, again – the dreams and goals that I believe that the Lord had placed on my heart. Where I had been doubtful just under an hour ago, a great conviction arose within me that these goals were in fact placed there by the Lord. Why? These area not dreams that I had envisioned for myself – they are so far out of range for what I had in mind for myself (in areas that I had never even really considered before), they had to be from the Lord. I can’t tell you precisely how these things are going to come to pass – and I suppose that’s the point, otherwise I wouldn’t need to have faith – but I have a clearer sense that God is with me as I pursue them, come what may.
And that’s where I let things go. I allowed for some silence, let the Lord know I was available if He wanted to say anything (I didn’t get anything audible, or any perceptible nudges one way or the other. I did sense His presence, however). I ended it all by saying, “In Jesus’s name, Amen.” And I ended up going longer than an hour! (although I did have to take a brief break to head to the ladies’ room. I figured that the Lord would understand.)
All in all, it wasn’t nearly as daunting as I thought it would be. I may try it again, but I thnk the key, for me, was getting away from a place that is too familiar and comfortable. Had I tried this at home, I don’t know how successful I’d have been, but perhaps I’ll attemp it here another time and see how things go.
Since my post today was longer than usual – and it chronicled the lengthy prayer that I had with the Lord earlier today – I’ll finish here. My closing prayer is a simple one:
Dear Lord, I was still and I came to experience Your presence in a fresh way. Thank You for our time together this evening – it was sweet (even if I took me awhile to settle down). Thanks for being patient with me!). In Your name I pray, Amen.