The other night I was in our outdoor spa but finding it quite difficult to feel my usual level of appreciation for the experience. Having some time in the spa at the end of the day are moments that I usually treasure and value as they bring an opportunity to release some of the stresses of the past days, but on this occasion it wasn’t working it’s usual magic.
I took some time to evaluate what was capturing my attention so much that I wasn’t able to fully relax. As is the case in this current climate, we had received a barrage of emails addressing the latest restrictions and the impact on our church community. We were juggling what we wanted to do with what we are now allowed to do, along with making decisions that will enable us to use our dwindling financial resources to their best potential. And just when we think we get a handle on it, it changes yet again, so it was any wonder that the peace I was looking for was alluding me.
As I was considering all this I began to observe the rolling, bubbling water in the spa. The air that brings the soothing massage sensation also causes the water to cascade in on itself. The surface of the water seems to jump and dance around in constant movement. I placed my hand in the midst of these rolling bubbles and encountered a significant amount of force pushing my hand away. There was a sense that no part of that body of water was not caught up in the motion and movement.
Then the bubbles stopped. This indicates that 30 minutes of spa time has elapsed, but I was intrigued to watch the corresponding impact on the water. In a matter of seconds the surface calmed and became like glass, so much so you could see a perfect reflection of the surroundings.
As I thought more about this situation I recognised that ordinarily I would be seen as busy and moving from one thing to the next. I am not someone that easily sits for hours on end at a singular task. I need the variety and feeling of perpetual motion to help get me through the day. This does make it more challenging for me to still myself to take the moments I need to hear from God. I feel as if I am always trying to connect while I am ‘on the run’ or in between tasks.
At the moment, however, most of the things that would normally help me bounce from one thing to the next are not available to me. All church activities are cancelled and face to face catch ups with people are off the cards. If the bubbling water represented my physical activity the 30 minute timer has gone off because everything has ceased. Therefore, surely, I should well be able to relax and be calm, but I wasn’t.
The realisation began to dawn on me that the water wasn’t representing my physical circumstance and busy-ness, but my mental one. My mind was in a constant whirl of ‘what ifs’ and ‘what nows’! With every changing announcement it sent a cascade of thoughts crashing in on themselves which equaled a force similar to the ones created by the spa jets. It was at this point I heard a familiar voice from within asking me to ‘be still’. Not in my physical state, but in my mind, in my thought processes, in my soul.
There are a number of verses in the Bible that mention being still, but my absolute favourite is found in Exodus chapter 14, verse 14 which says, “The Lord will fight for you, you just need to be still.” It is an awesome reminder that I don’t need to have my mind froth and bubble as it tries to work through and second guess every scenario. God is on my side and fighting for me, my situation and my faith community. Realising this can help me rest in His assurances and relax.
So now, instead of thinking that my lack of calendar entries means I am being still, I will be more intentional about the activity of my mind. I am hoping this change in mindset will help me too when my days begin to return to what they once were.
Be still, and be blessed.