Do you ever have one of those weeks that seems so relentless that you want to shout out "Stop the world, I want to get off!"? I certainly do from time to time. Sometimes there are just days and weeks when I am constantly juggling a list of demands. Those times are particularly exhausting because the to do list often crowds out the ability to sleep or relax. In those times it can feel counterproductive to stop and take time out. Often our human solution is just to work harder with the hope that mentally being able to tick a few more things off the list will ease our anxieties and sooth our troubled soul. The problem is that this strategy of working harder often leaves us feeling worse, it is bad for our mental health, our physical health and often our relationships too.
On Sunday Charlotte offered us a different way of looking at the motto text. The three parts of Psalm 27:4 were broken down into three areas:
1) Lingering near the Lord
2) Loving the Lord
3) Leaning on the Lord
When the busyness of life takes over this pattern offers an alternative solution. Firstly we are invited to linger near the Lord. This can seem like a ridiculous solution when we are stressed and busy but taking five or ten minutes out can be essential when we are most pressured. During those five or ten minutes we are invited to steal ourselves to rest and to become mindful of God's presence. Sometimes it can be helpful to find a quiet spot, to go for a short walk or to light a candle in the space that we are in as a way to focus. The next two things direct what we do with those few moments. We take a few deep breaths, and then we focus in on loving the Lord. This means remembering who he is, what he has done and what he promises to do. It might also be good to remember who we are, who God has made us to be and to focus on his love for us. Finally, we lean on the Lord. This means looking at the situations that we are facing with God. Telling him about how we feel and what is going on but also asking and listening for his perspective. Often it is that still small voice that brings a light and hope in the darkest corners of our lives.
Sometimes it is helpful to do this alongside another person. I meet with a lady every two months who has the grand title of "Spiritual Director". It sounds more ominous than it is. She is simply someone who listens to me and helps me to listen to God. We normally spend a bit longer than five or ten minutes together but at the end of it all I come away with a renewed perspective, a reminder of who God is and a reminder of how much I am loved by Him. Despite the often busy schedule intentionally taking that time out makes a big difference to my ability to navigate through life well.
Whatever you face today, this week, this month or this year, why not look for and create the spaces where you can linger near, love and lean on the Lord.