Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.
~ Psalm 46:10
There are times when being busy–even with wonderful spiritual disciplines like those we have been using at this blog–can be a way to escape from dealing with the feelings we have in the midst of life. Being busy about this or that–even good, godly activity that promotes my closeness with God–can also, in a strange way, keep me insulated from my pain. While we don’t want to let our emotions run away with us and take us captive, we do have to balance it with allowing ourselves to feel and grieve what may need grieving and to bring these feelings to God honestly.
God wants me to be still in my pain at times…like the child who squirms when he has a cut that is bleeding, even as we dress the wound…we must be still at times so that our God can cleanse our souls.
There are many ways to REST in the Lord, but one of the best ways I have of doing that is by running a hot bath, getting a beverage I enjoy (usually a diet cherry Pepsi), turning on my iPod (I have a player in the bathroom), lighting candles and just soaking a while.
If you don’t yet have a playlist that is suitable for quieting your heart or an iPod player or an iPod, I have a playlist that I have created that you could put on your laptop or computer if you have a speaker that you can play in your bathroom (trying my best to be creative here). The playlist is Rest In His Reign or you can go to this link in iTunes to purchase it if you like. It features soft synthesizer-ish music with some neat vocals you will recognize from hymns, but done in a peaceful contemplative way. It is a track by a Christian, Bob Kilpatrick, who wrote the classic praise chorus “Be Glorified.”
When I am in the bath, I feel as though I am in the Holy of Holies. I mean no sacrilege by that claim. It is one of the few times when I am physically STILL. When I am physically still, my soul has a chance to be still, too. To recognize my Great and Beautiful God. My mind stops spinning with what ifs and how abouts. I stop…
But I have stilled and quieted my soul;
like a weaned child with its mother,
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
~ Psalm 131:2
In that stillness, I can rest in the Lord. I can sense him quieting me with his love and delighting over me with singing.
The Lord your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.
~ Zecharaiah 3:17
Away from phones, post it notes, to do lists, children, pets and anyone (!) who may need our attention…somehow, there has to be a way to have five or ten minutes in the bath where we may rest.
This is the resting place, let the weary rest…
~ Isaiah 28:12
Please try to carve this time for you and Jesus–even if you have to do it at 4am!
With steaming water, soft lighting and perhaps music playing, what I want to encourage you to do is consider any way that the bath experience is like sitting in God’s presence and calm your mind accordingly. It might go something like this:
Lord, as the hot water stings my skin as I step in, sometimes as I enter your presence, I recoil a bit from the discomfort of being in your Presence. Your holiness is so overwhelming to me. But then, just as my body grows accustomed to the sensation of the water temperature, you have welcomed me into your presence by the blood of Christ. I know that forgiveness is a gift that you offer. As the water cleanses my body, the provision of Christ’s blood cleanses me from all unrighteousness. I want to ponder that blessing, Lord…
Lord, as the sting of the water passes and I begin to be soothed by the warmth in my weary body, your Presence soothes my weary soul. As I welcome the healing touch of the water on my muscles, I welcome your beautiful Presence into my heart and mind again. I choose to still my body and my mind. I choose to consider YOU right now, Lord…
Lord, as the water has filled this tub and fills every space, I desperately want your Spirit to saturate, to flood all the empty places in my heart, to fill me up completely. I want there to be no place in my soul and spirit and mind where you aren’t filling me completely. There is no shortage of water in this bath, Lord. Likewise, I know there is no shortage of your Spirit in filling my life. Thank you, Lord…
Well, you guessed it, I am sure…your assignment is to take a bath. LOL! Seriously, sometime, within the next three days, can you spare 5 or 10 minutes for you, just to sit? Can you make yourself do this? Do you wonder if this is something that God endorses? I can promise you He does. The verses I have shared today…don’t they at least make you wonder if you need to take time to be still just a bit?
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
~ Matthew 11:28-30