I don’t know about you, but I have something of a stubborn streak… I can just hear my parents and my husband scoffing: “something?!”. OK, OK, a significant stubborn streak.
It’s not all bad; that stubbornness has enabled me to stay the course in some tough times, I’ve persisted when I might have given up. But sometimes that stubbornness sees me sabotaging myself. I don’t like to be told what to do.
So in recent weeks when my husband has been persistently nudging me to go down to the pond for a moment’s peace, I’ve come up with all the usual “I’m too busy, blah blah blah” excuses. Even when I started thinking that actually it would be quite nice, I resisted solely because he was nudging me. Stubborn. Stupid.
But then I did it, and oh my word, wasn’t it good. The light on the water, the sun through the willow’s branches, the sound of the breeze in the trees… ah, rest. I was still working down there, but I was working from rest.
Rest is probably the spiritual discipline I struggle with the most. I seem to go around this cycle of being stressed, then realising how important rest is, doing it, then stopping doing it, and then ending up back stressed all over again…. round and around.
Rest is one of those basic things that I know I need to do, but somehow I keep forgetting to do it, or I think it’s optional for me, or just not possible in this season. But inevitably I end up in a stuck place, wondering, what’s wrong with me? Something needs to shift! And I look for new magic tools, new mindsets to address, new practices to adopt. But really, I just need to do the things I know I need to do.
In Deuteronomy 30:11-14, God tells the Israelites that his revelation for them is accessible, it’s right there, you just need to do it. “Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach.12 It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 13 Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 14 No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.”
Too often we’re looking for something new, some fresh word of prophecy, a change in circumstance, some new teaching. But sometimes what you need isn’t new information, or even just new revelation. It’s just so what you already know to do. The basics. The secret is you’ve got to do them.
The pond? Not that far away actually, and not that difficult to get to. Rest? Not that far away actually, and not that difficult to get to. You’ve just got to do the things you know you need to do.