Monday, June 18, 2007

stopping life

Have you ever had the sense of something like: "I'd sure like to stop life right now for a time," or, "Just let me get off this merry-go-round of life"?

We are so geared in our culture to "get at it" and "keep at it" and "be happy in that." I have to admit that more often than not I'm happy to get back into the regular grind of things. I seem outside of my element unless I'm pursuing my daily tasks however mundane they may seem to be. And that's not altogether bad, at all. I remember Brother Lawrence learning to praise God through the normal routine of things and practice the presence of God even through the clanging of the pans, etc.

There is a time to stop life in a sense, getting away from it in seeking to get into the presence of God or draw near to God. We can do this in a multiplicity of ways, but certain elements need to hold true. We should be at a place and time where we can focus in a fully engaged way on God. For me having my Bible and a notebook and pen to write down any thoughts, is important. To be still and turn away from distractions here, we keep working at. The effort itself is good, even if not fully successful, or at times, seeming largely to fail in this. This reminds me of Henri Nouwen's testimony of the time he was keeping before God.

Let's learn to savor these times of solitude and silence before God, times when our normal routines are interrupted and stopped. And maybe especially when we would be resistant to such times, knowing then that we are probably especially in need of this repose.

What have you learned or what thoughts do you have on this?


Anonymous said...

Ted -- I also do need routine in my life to stay faithful and close to the Lord. But I have to say, stopping life feels necessary to me on occasion. And the slowing down weekly that a regular Sabbath rest can provide really does my soul good. I've just come through a rought patch over the past few days, and I can feel the need to stop life for a season even now.

Thanks for checking on me over on my blog. Things are on the upswing now, I believe.

Ted Gossard said...

Charity, I'm so glad to hear that, sister.

Routine is a blessing, and a part of that is to take the needed regular rest, as you point out.

I'm better now at taking my routine wherever I go, yet we need those times to kick back, relax and do nothing, except rest in God's goodness.

KM said...

I had one of those be-still minutes the other day; totally unplanned. Have started going to the Wednesday meeting at a friend's church, and last time instead of the regular talking, teaching, or studying we just each prayed and kept still for the whole period. It didn't take long for the weight to come off; had been stressed out about a few of my work responsibilities and to be completely naked before God for an hour was total reprieve. It's like a divine cuddle (even when it might involve a little bit of a rebuke as well, lol). & you're absolutely right, Ted. We do need that, much more than we can normally sense.

Ted Gossard said...

KM, Thanks for sharing that. I think such times address my own drivenness. Or give me fresh sense of direction and strength. Though I think that no matter what we may or may not experience, such times need to be regular in our lives.

KM said...

Yes, Ted, they do.