I’ve packed up an entire household and moved to a new town, and a new home. I’ve said heartfelt goodbyes to one church and hopeful greetings to a new one. I’ve written a 76 page public policy paper on the housing needs of people with disabilities. I’ve continued to work on the book I’m writing, which is 3/4 of the way done. I’ve tried desperately to keep up with a 7-year-old who is exploring, with wild abandon, the freedom that comes with summer as he also adjusts to a new home and new friendships. And I’ve been preparing to lead three workshops on prayer beads at SOULfeast. I’ve been busy, busy, busy.
While all of this has been good stuff, still, I have reached the point where I am, officially, too busy. Too busy, apparently, to blog. Too busy to write any new prayer bead devotions (except for ones that will be used at SOULfeast). Too busy to make any new prayer bead designs. But most of all, too busy to be still. And listen. And I am feeling the effects.
But today, my family and I arrived at Lake Junaluska, NC, home of SOULfeast, which is sponsored by the Upper Room Ministries. It was POURING rain when we arrived, and we did our best to run – the three of us huddled together under the same umbrella – to the auditorium, arriving just in time for the opening worship service, wet but hopeful. Once inside, we sat down, took deep breaths, and gave in, body and soul, to the experience of reconnecting with God amidst the SOULfeast community. It was wonderful and deeply nourishing, and it when it came time to go up and receive communion I wept like a baby. I’m such a sucker for this kind of thing.
What I welcome most, right now, is the time to be still. Now, more than ever, I need to be still and just listen for God. In Psalm 46:10 we are reminded to “be still and know that I am God.” According to one commentary, the Hebrew word that is used for “be still” means “to cast down; to let fall; to let hang down; then, to be relaxed, slackened, especially the hands: It is also employed in the sense of not making an effort; not putting forth exertion; and then would express the idea of leaving matters with God, or of being without anxiety about the issue.” I didn’t know that until I looked up the verse, but I LOVE that! It says it all. In being still we stop “doing,” and relax, and let God do God’s thing. In being still we are reminded of who God is: the great I AM. In being still, we are reminded that no effort is necessary on our part since God is in control. And best of all, we can leave everything up to God “without anxiety!” How awesome is that?!? We can just be still. Indeed, that’s all that God asks of us.
So in celebration of SOULfeast and the need that we all share to just be still, I offer the following prayer bead devotion. May it bring you a sense of peace in the midst of life’s zaniness.
Cross: In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.
Invitatory Bead: (take a deep, long breath)
Each Cruciform Bead: “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10, NIV)
Each Week Bead: use each bead to take a deep long breath and LISTEN.
(if you have time, repeat this exercise for three revolutions of the prayer beads)
Invitatory Bead: recite The Lord’s Prayer
Cross: In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Amen.