Monday, November 28, 2016

Finding Rest And Finding God

Finding rest is hard work.  Your mind and flesh will fight against you.  First you must overcome inertia; leave comfort and the known.  I had to return a bunch of phone calls from home this morning.  I have to fix a leaking shower head.  I want to hang Christmas lights.  Instead I got in the car to go hike.

Enroute my body told me it craves a hamburger.  I’d eaten lunch; didn’t need food.  I told it I would feed it later.  Once on the trail there came the jumble of thoughts.  I’d come to rest.  I’d come to just be; to experience time with Jesus.  The mind fights that.

Rest isn’t a thing the mind does readily.  Amusement—yes; the 10 hours the average American spends in screen time.  Quiet resting though is a discipline.  I found myself praying for stuff; planning my vacations, blocking out my work week.  I had to actively bring thought back to God; to meditation, to quiet the hum. 

I don’t think the rattle of thoughts is a bad thing.  Perhaps it calls attention to the state of your heart.  Having set aside being busy at home my mind was trying to busy itself with thought.  I found I had to focus on the now.  I told my lungs to breathe deep.  I stood beside a pool and noticed moisture on the sides of the bank; the dry leaves still clinging for it hadn’t been wet enough to wash them downward.  The thoughts continued as I strove to order them.

I saw no visions.  I didn’t find the perfect zone.  Still it’s amazing that as thinking creatures we can seek stillness---that we can wrestle with thought and gray matter to bring it into a place of quiet.  To order our thoughts around meditation and quiet; to focus on God and to listen for Him---and to Him.  Still most amazing is that an infinite God reveals Himself; and allows Himself to be found.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Resting Is Hard Work

I miss backpacking.  I miss the naps.  Miles on the trail.  Then camp set-up.  Some gorp.  Then the search for the perfect granite slab to spread out on.  Sweat cooled on my body.  The sun hot above; a cool breeze to mediate.  Secure on the rock.  Work done.  Free to enjoy a perfect nap---without stress.

Today that kind of rest eludes me.  I’m honing in on the foxes---the ones ruining the vineyard.  Here’s a partial list: Social media news knowing and keeping abreast; I-shoulds (spending time with blank, working on the house); blogging and writing; exercise.  This isn’t to say I don’t have time to relax; to enjoy coffee on the porch or a good book.  But there’s a niggling; a call to a real rest, deep to deep; Sabbath healing.

When living in The Valley I carved out time on Thanksgiving to be alone with God.  Off a curving canyon road there lay large boulders; behind you the mountain, below Pacific Coast Highway, miles of shoreline and an expanse of blue ocean stretching out to eternity.  I’d go and just sit.  Pray.  Maybe think; maybe not.

I’m working six days this week; squeezing in Thanksgiving and Friday off.  Downtime with family will be great as always but quiet soul feeding won’t be happening.  I’m off Monday too.  I’m set on getting in a bike-ride or a hike.  To cultivate soul quiet.  To think; to process, to plan and dream---or not.  Perhaps to just be---still.