Monday, November 17, 2014

Accepting Stillness for the Blessing that It Is

Accepting Stillness for the Blessing that It Is
Posted by Renee Goble 

“Abide in me, and I in you[… ]I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me, you can do nothing.” 
John 15:4a, 5; ESV

Honestly, I didn’t feel like writing this week. In fact, I was less than excited. It was one of those weeks where you just feel grumpy and you don’t want to talk to people at all. You just want to be left alone to think and drink copious amounts of tea while you mope about your life… your uneventful life. 
After returning from a 6 month mission trip, I was expecting to rest. I expected to spend my days going on road trips and staying out late at the beach, possibly working on the side while exploring America. 
I like to do things.  I’m always doing things—whether it’s serving in youth group, or helping out at church, or studying, or going on long missionary adventures.  I feel most satisfied when I’m out helping people, or exploring the world or writing. It’s the way I’m wired. But this year God has been emphasizing “rest” to me—something that I desperately needed, but didn’t want to admit I needed.  
Which is why this season has been a struggle. My expectations for what rest should have looked like haven’t totally been met. 
Do you know how weird it is telling people that you feel God is calling you into a season of rest for the remainder of the year? 
If you’re me, you feel like you should be coming up with a more productive answer than—“Oh, I’m reading a lot, and hanging out with friends, and trying to be intentional about spending time with God… no, I don’t currently have a job, no I’m not in school… yeah I’m living with my parents again and I don’t have a car… no—I don’t know what’s next. Yes, yes I have been watching more TV than I should…”  
People are usually pretty interested and understanding, even if they look a bit confused by your decision. However, when you’re two months into this season and you have at least two months left to go, and people are still asking you, “what are you going to do?” You kind of just want to crawl into a giant hole and hide and say – “I DON’T KNOW! Leave me alone!” 
This has been a season of quiet and soul searching. It’s been a time where everything that I have once used to form an identity has been stripped away, and I am left with who I am in Jesus. It’s been a time where I have had to face my deepest fears and hardest thoughts—and there’s been nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. 
So, I find myself with a lot of time on my hands, no money, and this restlessness settling in. When I try to look for jobs, I keep getting this sense of uneasiness, as if God is saying—“not yet, not now, wait with Me, rest with Me”... And I don’t really like it… 
…Which is why I need it.  
Until I can learn to be satisfied with being me and being me with Jesus, I will never be ready to do anything for Him.
Something I learned in university is that “being is more important than doing.” I have this little phrase written in my Bible, in my journal, and on my computer. I’ve talked about it, I’ve read about it, and oh my—have I thought about it. It’s a beautiful and encouraging concept… which I am just now beginning to deeply comprehend.
Like Martha and Mary in the Bible, God is first and foremost concerned about you spending time with Him. Martha was a gifted servant—she was great at it. There is nothing wrong with being a “Martha” as long as we realize the value of simultaneously being a “Mary.” We must understand the importance, the necessity of being still otherwise we will not be able to fully grasp the importance of serving—of doing.  
Yes, we will be held accountable with what we chose to do with our time—I am NOT advocating laziness. I’m not even advocating everybody do what I do and quit your jobs for a season. You need to do what you are being called to do, but more than that—you need to know who you are called to be.  
Jesus’ disciples were with Him two years and during that time—yes—they did ministry. But countless hours were spent soaking up the words, teachings and love of Jesus, so that they could display it to others. Because if you don’t have that solid foundation built upon a relationship with Christ, and if you haven’t spent time resting with Him and discovering His heart, what makes us think we can really do anything worthwhile for Him; especially when we really need to be doing worthwhile things with Him?
 Are we choosing to know Jesus? Not just in our heads, but are we choosing to know Him intimately and passionately, in a way more real and loving than we can yet comprehend? 
We will be held accountable for our choices, and it is important that we know what we should be doing. This requires becoming the person God created you to be. And the way we become that person is by spending time with Jesus. And ones of the best ways to spend time with Jesus is to rest with Him; be still with Him; and discover who He is in the intimate quiet moments when no one is watching, waiting, or judging—and you are forced to face your infinite smallness as you bask in the enormity of His grace and love.  
Doing should be the outpouring of our relationship and love for Christ, because when all our works are stripped away along with all of our ministries and activities and opportunities; all we will have left is our relationship with Jesus. 

Till next time friends,