Finding Peace

Permission Needed

Coffee cup in hand, I sat down on our leather sofa with a loud sigh of relief.  An unfolded mound of clean laundry was piled up beside me.  A dozen tasks were pressing down on me, their urgency increased by the impending arrival of guests for tonight’s dinner.  I needed to be moving, doing, prepping, accomplishing, but, instead, my soul desperately needed a respite.

I took this moment to lean my head back and breathe deeply, trying to relax into a rare interlude of silence purchased by husband’s willingness to allow our daughters to accompany him on an errand.  With less than 2 hours before our guests’ arrival, I knew a variety of tasks would remain undone, but as I weighed the cost of my stolen moments, I realized that none of them would result in my guests’ discomfort.

These “pressing” tasks were more about my comfort, my need to appear to have a perfectly presentable household.  As the tension in my mind and body loosened a little, I realized the true need of my soul in this moment was just to BE still.

It is astonishing to me that this very act of doing nothing actually requires my own consent.  But it does. 

You see, I’ve become aware of this constant mental measuring of my own usefulness.  I’m not actually keeping a written score by physically grading each day or event, yet there IS a tally being calculated just below the surface of my consciousness.

This subconscious scorekeeper can be my worst enemy.  Sadly, for many years, I mistook this inner analyst for the voice of the Holy Spirit.  (More about that in a future post.)

But in this moment, I gave myself permission to rest despite all the demands (both legitimate and otherwise).  I embraced a stillness in body AND soul.

Be still, and know that I am God!  

Psalm 46:10a

You know, sometimes, it’s okay just to BE.

I recently made this statement to a group of adults.  I could see the immense emotion of this simple statement reflected in the eyes of several women.  We, especially as women, can have such a difficult time with this.

Who told us that we must DO… in order to be of value?  in order to be worthy of love? in order to be useful?

I know we all have responsibilities, and I’m not endorsing laziness or neglect of our families.  However, I’m asking the Lord to give us His wisdom about what we can let go of (big or small) in order to embrace His rest.

This will look different for each of us, but let’s drop that measuring stick and throw away the mental score card.  Let’s stop using it on ourselves and on each other.  Let’s acknowledge that sometimes it’s okay just to BE.  BE you.  BE still.  Just BE.

What would it look like to give yourself permission to embrace a season of stillness?

Whether it is a few stolen moments on a weekend afternoon, a whole day or week, or an entire season of embracing this state of BEING rather than doing, I pray that you will find true refreshment from the ONE and ONLY who can provide that to us, Jesus Christ.

…Don’t be afraid. 

Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. 

Exodus 14:13a

On a funny note, I was so relaxed after just BE-ing, that I completely forgot to fold that laundry and put it away before my guests arrived.  In fact, I didn’t realize that I had forgotten about it until after everyone had gone home.

Now, before you get all judge-y on me, you should know that the adults spent most of the evening in the dining room and kitchen.  It wasn’t like we were chatting while sitting next to my husband’s undies.

But still, I can’t even believe I forgot this.

I’m so thankful for my grace-giving friends and for my grace-giving God.  Most of all, I’m thankful for this journey that is enabling me to take hold of grace for myself.  I’m marking this down (laundry pile included) as a major accomplishment in my journey toward vibrant living.

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