Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Empty Time

Every moment doesn't have to be brim full.

He told me so just last week.

Out of sorts, strained, and drained - on some mission to gather up laundry or disperse towels or hide in the bathroom for a moments break - I brushed passed our bookshelf that sits just outside our bedroom door.

Rushing past - my eye caught the binding of one of the books. And in that split second 'page 57' plopped right down into my thinking.

Page 57.

 I had no idea what this page of Richard Foster's Streams of Living Water said.

But the whisper wouldn't quiet. So, I pulled the book from the shelf, sat down on a bar stool, and read some of the most personally pertinent words I've ever read. If I could copy and paste the whole page, I would.

Here's the snippet that rung the loudest:

" ...undermine that perennial, everlasting human itch to get ahead with intentional times of 'holy leisure'. Take a nap....Take a walk, not for exercise or to study plant life but for the sheer joy of walking....Listen to the birds - not to get some 'message' from them but to hear them. Sit in the silence, doing nothing, having nothing, needing nothing. Take a bath instead of a shower. Waste time for God. The ideas are endless." (emphasis mine)

I really don't know if I can articulate what settled into my heart after reading that.

And for you to understand the magnitude of this message - you'd have to crawl into the crevices of my very heart. And words....they don't always do justice to those deep folds of the soul. So forgive me if this ends up falling flat for you. As for me - it's falling so fresh.

You see....I'm in a continual whir. And God knows it. And He knew page 57 of that book would get right to the point of it all.

Me here....Forcing every single second of my life into something purposed, full, effective, gainful....it's left me worn.

I've lived under the notion that every moment has to be pregnant with purpose and swelling with some accomplishment or some knowledge gained.

This thinking has weaved it's way through every fiber of my life.

And chances are...it's woven through yours as well. Our culture....it makes us feel like we are losers if we aren't gathering up information at all times....even useless information. Facebook, apps, blogs, news, weather - we feel like every down second has to be a second used. We feel like we are missing out if we aren't learning something new or checking duties off.

We're always after something.

And because of that...we're missing Someone.

We don't always have to be soaking in, or squeezing out, or running to.

Life doesn't always have to be full, round, and heavy.

We don't always have to be scuffling to the next thing.

Trying to fill every moment will leave us empty.

While we are called to work, and toil, and manage, and grow - it's not always a chasing that will get us there. Sometimes it's a standing still.

Open up. He'll come to you there. Offer up some moments that are null.... void of information and purpose. This leaves room for Him!

We complain of tiredness and stress and anxiety. And so often...it's because of our continual chase. 

We've left no room for strolls and rest and calm and quiet and moments without a clear point.

But know....this is not an excuse for laziness....

We will sink low with too much emptiness, and we will waste away when we are idle for too long. Muscles do turn to atrophy when they aren't used. We are expected to act, and fill, and gather, and grow, and run hard, and persist, and push-through....

but let us take a breath now and then. A breather.

Running around filling our own cups all the time - there's no God in that.

But bowing low and lifting up a dry dish.... God pours Himself right in.

The pots don't always need to boil...sometimes it's a gentle simmer that makes a feast.

So like Foster said....let's go against the tide on this one. Let's push back on the 'get ahead - all the time - every second of the day' - way of thinking.

Let's take time to just....be. Listen. Sit. Sleep. Dream. Wait. Watch. Enjoy.

I think God gravitates to moments like that - moments that leave room for Him. Moments offered up.

Unplanned...unfilled time - holds such divine potential.

Making room for more of them - will attract more of Him.

And no amount of lists accomplished or creeds memorized or chapters read...can compare to that.

Praying for fresh revelation from the Lord for every kind soul that passes by this post....in the rare, quiet, wild moments lifted up to Him.

May awe ensue for you!