Have you ever struggled to find the right word to describe a situation? For the past few months, I have wrestled with finding language to describe this new season.
A LOSS FOR WORDS
What word correctly describes the reality I find myself in? Some use “disability.” Yet, when I hear that word, it smacks of broken or less than whole. I don’t particularly appreciate thinking about myself in such a way.
“How are you enjoying retirement?” is a question I am often asked these days. It does not feel like I retired. This was not a choice I made. In a strange way, my oncologist, and to a more significant extent cancer, retired me. I had assumed that one day I would make a choice to retire. “Retirement” does not seem to fit my reality.
Whatever word correctly describes the place I find myself, the truth is I have a lot more free time on my hands. So what to do with that time?
In my first whole week of retirement/disability, I went on retreat at the Malvern Retreat House. It was a week of quiet reflection and prayer. A time to thank God for the past seven years of ministry with my friends at First Baptist Church and think about the future.
During one of my times of quiet, I felt the Spirit’s invitation to “be still” for a season. Talk to most retired people, and one of the first things you hear is how busy they are. Life has a way of filling up a vacuum. If I were not careful, this newfound “free time” would be filled in short order. I would find my schedule filled with things other than work.
Every Tuesday night we begin Tuesday Night Reflections with a simple prayer. It is not original to me. It comes from the scriptures and has a way of helping one let go of the busyness of life and be open to hear what the Spirit may be speaking.
I slowly speak each phrase of the prayer:
Be Still and Know that I Am God
Be Still and Know that I Am
Be Still and Know
We spend a few minutes in quiet following that prayer.
It is incredible how quiet can cause the cares and worries of this world to fade away and usher in a spirit of peace.
A DEEPER INVITATION
While on retreat, I was reminded of that prayer. I sensed the Spirit’s invitation to practice the prayer in a much bigger way in my life.
Be Still and Know I Am God; use the lack of activity in your life to Be with Me and hear from Me.
Be Still and Know; use this season to rest, wait patiently for me (God) to reveal the new thing I am doing.
Be Still; don’t rush to fill your time with tasks and activities.
Be; learn to be comfortable being the person I made you to be, minus a title or role.
In time I will show you where and how I want you to invest your time.
The invitation was real. I have struggled to live into it. Life has a way of filling up a vacuum. Multiple times over the past few months I needed to remind myself of the invitation to simply Be. At times it has felt the perfect thing to do. Some days it feels as if I am wasting days.
STRUGGLING TO “BE”
Moving this way is different. It is difficult for me. I have come to understand that I could quickly fill my time with activity. However, I fear that in all the activity I would miss the invitation of God to discern the next wave of the Spirit moving through my life. My activity would be good, yet I would miss God’s best for me.
So, for now, I fight to “Be Still and Know.”
As you think about your life, is there activity that feels like activity for activities sake?
Might you be able to slow down, to find the time and place to quiet your spirit so you could connect with the Spirit of God? A way for you to simply “Be Still and Know.”
If you would like to join me at Tuesday Night Reflections feel free to reach out via FB or leave a message here on the blog.
You can also reach me at [email protected]
Tuesday Night Reflections: 6:30 pm every Tuesday via ZOOM
I will send you the ZOOM link.