by Sue Duby
This journey has been so very different. I’ve wrestled often over the years with wanting my days to count. Desiring to have purpose in my actions. Joy in my “doing”. Wonder in the adventure of each day. A sense that life is full, rich and going in the right direction. But now, in the midst of continued isolation, social distancing and no clear “finish line”, it’s different.
With no toddlers to entertain, teens to coach through trigonometry lessons or a job requiring endless ZOOM calls and emails, my calendar remains crazily clear. Mornings seem to begin with a bit of a shoulder shrug, smile and shaking of my head, whispering, “OK Lord, here we are again. Another day. Wide open like all the others. Show me what You have in mind… please.”
Somehow, along the way, I’m realizing God’s not too concerned about filling my days with activities and check lists during this time. There’s a slowing down, a re-posturing, moments to actually ponder deeply and even joy in letting each day unfold (when I allow it!). And as they do, He continues to remind me of the basics in fresh ways.
This morning I had my game plan! Grab that coffee, sit in my favorite chair, try to get still and listen…hoping for some clear direction for the day. I was ready! Give me the “doing list” and I’ll happily march right through it! I flipped open my Bible and randomly decided to read Psalm 37. Familiar words, underlined multiple times, a “go to” passage… and yet this time, it came alive through the grid of “How to live my life in Corona virus crazy”.
Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord,
and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in Him and He will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun.
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him…”
Point one in the game plan. Trust in the Lord. Rely on Him. Have confidence in Him. I know in my head I do… but do I really lean into and on Him each moment, knowing He’s “got it”… the beginning and the end of the story I’m living? Not concerned, in control and with my best in mind. Seemingly simple, but requiring ongoing to choices to NOT trust in so many other things… Covid-19 briefings, political chatter, scientific trials, even my own figuring. But actively, all the time, trusting in YOU Lord.
Point two in the game plan. Do good. That’s a puzzler indeed, since I can’t “go” or actively “do” like I loved in non-isolation days. Some are busy making masks (I crafted two and resigned from further efforts). Others shop and deliver groceries to the “elderly” (we’re limiting shopping trips, reluctantly admitting we’re in that “e” group!). I’ve video chatted with multiple friends, walked the neighborhood countless hours (definitely need a new pair of shoes when this is over!), checked in with family and even managed routine workouts with a favorite online coach (quite a sight with our yoga mats sandwiched between the dresser and bed).
I know God’s not keeping score or rating the value of any activities. He’s cheering me on in my simple desire to “do” (make, produce, act) “good” (benefit, welfare, happiness). I’m guessing that natural unfolding during a given day may be the very “doing” that pleases Him most. Waving to our homebound 85 and 95 year old neighbors as we stroll by. Sharing my saga of driving over my precious petunias with the widow across the street, while she struggles to contain an explosion of giggles. Even just thanking master dishwasher Chuck for his nightly gift. I’m guessing God smiles at all such daily “doings”.
Point three in the game plan. Dwell in the land. Reside, permanently stay, abide. We know for certain that our move to Arkansas 3 years ago was His idea. He’s truly settled us in a sweet season… close to family (Krista and gang), our own “beach cabin” (no water, but has the look!) and walking trails galore. With the novelty of isolation wearing off (I even dared yesterday to voice aloud, “I’m over it!!!”), everything in me wants to jump ship, go somewhere, hop on an airplane (maybe not quite yet). . . or at least endure until the next going somewhere… anywhere! Instead, in the midst of restlessness, it’s clear. Stay put. Live like I REALLY live here. Not just until the next activity. Not just until things “open up”. But believe in His promise that “dwelling” is a sweet thing.
In fact, dwelling allows us to “enjoy safe pasture”. Dwelling allows me to pause and see the table He’s already set before me. A safe home. A full freezer. Health of our entire family. A slowing to “graze” on what He brings each day. Sunshine. First blooms of Spring. Bounty in the midst of such a time.
Point four in the game plan. Delight in the Lord. I know I love Him… but “delight”? Do I wait for Him to lead, guide, answer my prayers only… or am I really happy in just being with Him? Do I truly find my joy and “making merry” in my heart with Him? When I lay all else aside and grab hold of that privilege, it comes only naturally that my desires line up with His. Even in the midst of uncertainty and unscripted times.
Point five in the game plan. Commit my way to Him. Confession… most days I charge into the morning with swirling thoughts of options to fill the hours ahead. I’m a great dreamer, planner and list maker. Then, somewhere along the way (NOT quickly), I grimace, reroute my thoughts for a pause and dare to ask, “Lord do you have something for this day?”. For me, it requires more than a simple change of focus. It’s taking clenched fists holding my plans, opening those palms and letting go… waiting for Him to fill them back up with better plans. And then, He promises to “do this”… to carry the load and work His best for my good.
Point six in the game plan. Be still… and wait for Him. The grand summary. After posturing myself to listen, let go of my plans, expect He has better ones and knows all my days. . . my job is to get still and wait. Why is it that when I’m most ready to “get the show on the road”, pausing for silence and waiting is first required? He knows me well. That I can easily run off with my good ideas. OK and maybe even great ones… but not best ones. So, the stillness, the pause to rest… and the waiting for further direction is all for my good.
The root of “wait” comes from “to twist, whirl, dance, writhe, fear, tremble, travail”. A crazy mix, but sets a picture in my mind of a restless young child, pensive with excitement, jumping and dancing about, while at the same time anxious and nervous about what’s to come. That’s me. Waiting for God, for timing and His ways, is hard… in moments, seemingly impossible to handle. But in the midst, while waiting and knowing He’s not gone anywhere and is actively working on my behalf, I’m privileged to experience
- Unfolding days
- New understanding
- Release in the joy of a slower pace
- Reminders of His presence and love
- Tickles of joyful gratitude
- Refreshment in mind and spirit
The journey continues to be so different. Puzzling. Uncertain. Like no other. Along the way, His road map is clear and simple. May I trust in Your best, Lord and eagerly wait for You.