Monday, August 20, 2012

Afraid of what's underneath and the Soli Deo Gloria Party

It's time to pull up your chair.  Do you know you have one here in this space we call Soli Deo Gloria?  You do.  It's reserved every week only for you.  This place would be different if you weren't here and we miss you when you are gone.  This is a place filled with women who seek to honor your words, you heart, your tears, and your laughter.  Scooch in close.  You won't want to miss a word.
To read more about the Soli Deo Gloria community, please click here.

Also, SDG retreat registration is still open!!  Click here to find out more information and learn how to register.
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for some cool hammerhead pics, click here
There are many amazingly cool things that God created, but one of my favorite creatures is the hammerhead shark.  Seriously, it is one very strange looking animal whose shape I never would have thought of in a millions years.  When we were at the Monterery Aquarium, we went back to the "Open Sea" area twice just so I could get a picture of this shark.  The truth is, I love sharks.  I live for Shark Week every year (not really, but close).  Any time I have the chance to see one (behind glass), I'm there.  And yet...

I am deathly afraid of them.  Every time I stick my toes in the ocean, I think about them lurking.

I wonder how I can be so fascinated with something and yet be so terrified of it at the same time.

I think it's the same way I feel about rest.

Two nights ago, I couldn't sleep and I asked God for His help.  I found myself lying in the ocean on a raft, the sun warming my face, the waves gently lulling me to sleep.  For a moment, I felt total relaxation and peace.  And then...

...what about sharks?
...I'm not tethered to anything, what if I float out to sea?
...what if something punctures my raft and I'm out too deep and too far to swim back to shore?
...what if I lose sight of the shoreline?
...what is exactly swimming under me right this moment?
...how could God think that I could rest here?

Clearly, I was a bit wound up that night, fearing imaginary sharks underneath my imaginary raft in the imaginary ocean.  But, I think God used it as an illustration for me about rest.

If I really submit my agenda to Him, but then He tells me to scratch nothing off my to-do list, but instead to rest, I might have that moment of "ahhhh...yes...I will curl up on the couch with a book and take a day off."  And the moment of surrender wears off and I begin my diatribe:

...what about the emails I have to send?
...what about recruiting more people for the retreat?
...what about the the bills I need to pay?
...what about my class that starts in September?
...what about the kitchen floors, and the bathrooms, and the painting that I want to finish above the fireplace?

All of these things feel like hungry sharks swimming underneath my raft and if I fall off, they will eat me alive.  Tell me, have any of you ever felt this way?

But you see, I have discovered that while I am really faithful about asking God if I should take on a new event, commitment, or task, I am not very good at letting Him have His way accomplishing those things.  Anyone else guilty of this?

In other words, I don't ask for help actually accomplishing these tasks until I realize I don't know what I am doing.  But this time, I've worked myself up in such a tizzy, I'm essentially screaming at God --

HELP!  What do I do?

Imagine how I handle His answer to REST during this time.  Not very well, I tell you.  Not very well.

I've realized, though, this process is about helping me to realize and put into practice what I learned from Louie Gigilio's book:

i am not but i know I AM.

And I'm listening when He puts verses in front of me such as these:

"The LORD is going ahead of you.  He will fight for you, just as you saw Him do in Egypt."
Deut. 1:30
(sure, I wasn't there in Egypt, but how many other times have I seen God fight for me in my very own lifetime?  These things I must remember.)

"But you will not even need to fight.  Take your positions; then stand still and watch God's victory."
2 Chronicles 20: 17

"When you hear the blast of the trumpet, rush to wherever it is sounding.  Then our God will fight for us."
Nehemiah 4: 20
photo source
God wants me to be here, in the midst of these tasks so that I might see Him work.  He plants me in specific places so that I might see His glorious hand.  But if I rush off busying myself with what I think I ought to do, I will miss it.  I will expend needless energy.  I will miss the moments of peace and relaxation.  I will focus on what will devour me instead of what will nourish me.

I want to be on the raft instead of treading water in the unknown sea.  Tell me, where do you want to be?  How do you stay on the raft?

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I am so happy to see your face here at Soli Deo Gloria.  Did you know we have small groups?  As SDG has grown, it started to lose a bit of the small community feel.  As such, we have groups that visit each other and leave comments for each other on SDG days so that you don't feel lost in this big blog world.  Would you like to be a part?  If so, please email me at jenfergie2000@me.com.  Also, if you are new here, please put "I am new" as your caption so that we might give you a proper welcome.

43 comments :

  1. AMEN, amen, amen! I can relate to all of it. I really believe God is speaking to His people -- His church this very thing. I am amazed at how many blogs I have read or messages I have received today for my own post about rest. I just love your heart. Your posts always speak directly to mine...

    Thanks Jen! If you have a chance -- head on over to my place today. This is my first day back from my week of rest :)

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    1. I love it when posts speak in unison! It helps me feel so much less alone. Already stopped by!

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  2. I have these exact same struggles, Jen. How can I take a day of rest when I have so many things to do??? He knows how. I don't have to. Just do it. Yes, I will do that. Thank you, friend.

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    1. Everyday, I have to remind myself of this. He is bigger than anything I can do, say, or be. Have you read Giglio's book? It really put things in perspective for me.

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  3. i have learned to rest more and more the older i have gotten....

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  4. I'm with Kendal, learning how to be at peace with resting the older I get but this is also why I love going to our cottage in Canada where we are forced to unplug for two weeks. It's like busyness detox and I find myself all over again.

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    1. I love that phrase -- "busyness detox." Yes, I think I need to have more of those.

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  5. learning to rest as I practice giving thanks and reminding myself that He isn't stressed, so there is no need for me to be...crying out to God...He can handle my raw emotions, and often once I give them to Him, I feel the freedom to rest...blessings, Jen, as you rest :)

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    1. Awhile ago, I thought that I had to always present the brave face or the "right" face when I talked to God. I am so grateful that I have learned I don't have to "be" any which way, other than what I am, when I am with Him.

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  6. Love this post, Jen. That verse from 2 Chronicles is a favorite: take your position, stand still and watch God. He is amazing!
    Thank you for your service to Him through SDG,
    Susan

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  7. Ah, Jen. The hamster wheel syndrome, I see. Yes, I am familiar. :>) Trouble is, it really doesn't work well for humans - AT ALL. Deep breathing is good. Taking a nap is good. Reading something that is not required for a class or an assignment or even for better discipleship - yes, even that is good. The spirituality rat race is exactly that - another rat race. And God did not design us for any kind of rat race. A 'race,' yes - a good race, a hard race at times, but one that is marked by regular intervals of REST. Take one, honey. Regularly. (and isn't that aquarium the BEST??)

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    1. Diana -- I know you wouldn't leave CA (because who would - it's so beautiful) but if you ever want to come to TX and visit little ol' me, do you know how much I'd love that?? Your words are refreshing, as always.

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    2. I am going to the Laity Lodge Writer's Retreat at the end of September - so yes, I do go to TX on occasion. Ever thought about coming to that one??

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  8. I thought I was doing pretty well with this, but my word, why am I up so late, then? These things are like Velcro! Rest seems to require a constant effort. But that makes me think of the scripture that says, "Make every effort to enter His rest." Still "working" at it! (And I wish I had a cottage in Canada to go to!)

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  9. LOL - we are on the same page - not on rafts but letting Him fight. "I wasn't there in Egypt, but how many other times have I seen God fight for me in my very own lifetime? These things I must remember.)" - to remember them and tell the story to your children, to your neighbors, to the a divine appointment in the grocery store - what a beautiful voice in the chorus is your post!

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  10. Beautiful encouragement, Jen. Fear and the what ifs have been on my heart a lot lately too. Love that quote Louie Giglio!

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  11. Ahh, sweet rest, white space for the eyes, margin for the soul.

    I laughed out loud at your description of resting. I did the same thing yesterday. After working the weekend to meet a deadline-on my birthday, no less-and stressing about it while writing a post on building margin into your life(let's see, what was the message there?), I was beat and heard the call to rest. I rested physically, but not mentally. Had I known you were in the water as well, we could have lashed our rafts together and had a joyful, restful journey. :-)

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    1. Kim, I loved your "margins" post. As you might have seen, I bookmarked it so I can slowly digest all the ideas you had.

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  12. AH! I loved your shark analogy!!! I can so relate to this. I love having a visual to go with an area I need to work on and this is one that crops up and smacks me from time to time. (Repeat offender here) My favorite part is this, "He plants me in specific places so that I might see His glorious hand. But if I rush off busying myself with what I think I ought to do, I will miss it. " and especially this reminder, " I will expend needless energy. I will miss the moments of peace and relaxation. I will focus on what will devour me instead of what will nourish me."
    Wow! Loved this post! Thank you! :)

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  13. Your vivid words really tell it like it is! That feeling of not being tethered, unsure of whether you are safe. So, I kind of wrote this week's post for you, but don't tell anyone!
    ;)

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    1. I read it. You are so good at knowing what is really important.

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  14. Dear Jen, I share your fascination with/fear of sharks. I have never felt more vulnerable than when I am in the ocean, not knowing what is around me, under me . . .and I can't imagine snorkeling {even though I know I am missing out on so much wonder and beauty} because I couldn't bear the idea of the possibility of seeing a shark. I love how the Father bid you to rest with Him, out in the middle of the sea, trusting His waves, His arms to lull you to sleep, knowing you were safe. I love your heart for surrender, always encouraging me, with your wisdom, to trust more, live with open hands and heart. Thank you. {And you were a little over an hour from my house on your visit to Monterrey! What a fun trip you had!}

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  15. Great correlation with sharks and water. I posted just today on waiting like Joshua did marching around Jericho's walls. I think resting and waiting was so difficult cause we can't control them like we think should be able to do. The older I get the more I realize how little control we have over anything..

    Saw we had a few newbies today on the link up. I did go over and leave comments to welcome them.

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    1. Thank you, Jean, for your welcoming heart!!

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  16. He's been telling me to rest too! I have been making it a point to listen, and have been taking it slower all summer. It feels good. :-)

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  17. I've always loved 2 Chronicles 20 and the story of what God did for Jehoshaphat and the children of Israel. Thank you for calling that story to mind in the context of dealing with our daily demands, and for reminding me that God goes before me into every day!

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  18. Oh, Jen, I need that raft! Thank you for this beautiful post that helps put everything in perspective.
    God bless,
    Laurie
    http://savedbygracebiblestudy.blogspot.com/

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  19. God is so faithful - He'll do anything for us if we simply put him first in our life. God Bless You!

    http://thejoyfulservant.com

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  20. I am struggling with rest at night. This encouraged me to know I am not alone. Thanks, Jen.

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  21. Hummm lets see how do I manage to stay on the raft? I think it's a constant coming back to what I know is truth in the midst of my altered reality. Self talk and speaking the Word over myself and claiming the promises ... doesn't always happen at the same time - but I try to remember to do these things. Thoughful post - thanks :)

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    1. Speaking the Word is so incredibly powerful, I agree.

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  22. Yes, I have to remind myself of these same things continually - to trust, and leave things with Him. Love the verses that you included at the end of the post - some of those are favorites of mine, too.

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  23. But I do rest...until I try to make things happen better/faster, whatever. He reins me back in again telling me to rest and I do....until. So thankful for his never-ending Grace and Mercy on this earth.

    Just this week He reminded me with the same scripture on rest (2x in less than an hour) so I also posted on it! Would be wonderful if I NEVER took myself out of His rest...

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    1. It's so hard to live life on His timetable. And yet when we do, life does seem to go so much more smoothly.

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  24. So, so true. I don't know why I think that the busy things will accomplish more than just resting and listening. Sometimes I worry that I don't even know how to be still anymore. Add that to the personality of a recovering legalist. Thankfully. he speaks through the 'do more, try harder' thoughts.

    So nice to meet you friend!

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    1. I worry about that, too. Something easily lost without diligent practice. Nice to meet you!

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  25. Love the fighting verses. I needed those reminders today. Thank you!

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  26. I have a lot of sharks circling. And snakes, they hang out here, too. But I find the more I rest, the easier it is to tackle the important things. I can't do it all. I can't.

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  27. I continue to learn about rest and stillness. Seems like one of the more difficult lessons for me these days. Yet, He is patient and loving and calls me to Him. I come. I come as I am. I come to I AM.
    I praise Him.
    loving you, ~ linda

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  28. I like what Sandy says. I can hear the crazy jaws music now :). Rest is hard for me too, Jen. One thing I realized when we came home from the ocean this year--if I jump back into life at crazy speeds I quickly lose all that He taught me in that quiet time.

    I'll be reciting these versed to myself tonight :)

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