Tuesday, October 7, 2014

7 | Surrendering in the Stillness

After I published yesterday's piece about "When Being Still Is Hard," it got a lot harder.

I set out on an easy three-mile run.  (I've learned over the years that the weekly or bi-weekly short run is all my body can take.)  Just as I'm coasting into that two-mile autopilot, no-effort mode, it happened.

Uneven sidewalk.  Lunging dog.  Tight hamstring.  Tear.  Treacherous tumble.

Twenty minutes of praise-filled prayer, of lead-me-Lord listening, torn out from under me.  Flat on my fanny, I pulled out my phone to call for a ride.  The spiraling dots were dialing down to a dead battery.

Talk about feeling disconnected.  Nevermind the fact that this week I have no access to either of my work emails from two different organizations for mysterious, Poltergeisty reasons.  Nevermind that the two aged laptops we own are wheezing and freezing, and the wifi needs unplugging and replugging on a daily basis. Disconnected.  Minding the gaps — physical, technological, social — minding them very much, indeed.

The mile walk home was a downward spiral from "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" to a bitter pity party.  My spiritual battery was dying, too.  I was mad at God for the recent sequence of events on top of years of problematic patterns.  All the wounded disconnections stormed up into a cold silence by the time I walked the last blocks home.  "I can do all things" subsided to a whimpering "why even try?"

That whole mile I wanted to by physically still, but I needed to get home.  That whole afternoon I wanted to deliver a spiritual silent treatment to God, not enjoy any spiritual stillness.  But God kept pointing me to his home of love and grace.

Geri Madera Photography
Fastforward four hours to the MRI lab.  Thirty-six minutes of forced stillness. Preceded by worries about potential surgery and twitching legs and loud robotic bleats and bursts.  Yet those thirty-six minutes turned out to be pure gift.  Pure gift of prayer that went from self-pity to petitions for friends who are in much more dire straits than myself.  I became engrossed in lifting up Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and throat cysts and deep grief and cancerous brain spots.  Amidst the robotic machinations of the MRI, my prayers melted from robotic supplications to heartfelt lifting of friends on pallets, lowering them through the roof to Jesus' healing presence.  My prayers melted from "Why me?" to "Can you?" to "You promise, and I believe."

Confession: I don't normally pray with that kind of passion and trust.

I don't know how to do it without feeling skeptical or just plain weird.  But I do know it happened yesterday, by the grace of God.  Literally.  In the moment where I surrendered my worries, accepted my current state, and whispered (without moving a muscle) for help, God entered my prayers and filled them with all the faith I didn't have.  It was a stillness that was situationally forced and spiritually freeing.  All I had to do was let go.  That, and fall in a clumsy, crazy, contorted way.

Interpretation:  God is still working in me to get better at this Being Still thing.

Just when I think I've figured out what he wants me to do, to say, to share, God brings me back to doing things in his time and in his way.  Being still is not for me to think my way through, to figure out on my own.  It's not just, as I wrote yesterday, me inviting God into my moment of slow.  Being still is God's invitation for me to come to a full stop — to trust and to surrender, so he can fill and overflow.  Because what God brings to the stillness is so much more powerful than anything I can ever offer.

Philippians 2:13 from VersifyLife.com
And with that, I'm going to just shut up for today.  But not before I leave you with this prayer.

My ideas for what is possible in my relationship with you are so humanly limited.  
I pray that you blow wide open the realm of possibility for our time together.  Where I seek space, I ask you to create your own peaceful dwelling place.  Where I seek silence, I ask you to fill it with your living word.  Where I seek sanctuary in the midst of busy, I ask you to make my business all about being a living, breathing, walking, talking sanctuary that glorifies you.   
And where I try to keep hold of the reins, I implore you to take them from my controlling clutches, take them under your divine direction, and teach me to surrender to your serenity. 


  1. Liz….This is amazing!
    You write beautifully and from your heart and soul.
    When it rains it pours.. Isn't that how it seems to always go. When we think that we are at our wits end God throws something else at us and we look up and say "Seriously"?? and when we honestly think that we can't handle anymore a strength comes over us and we become internally stubborn and strong. That's when I become competitive knowing that God is always on my side and my Faith kicks in and nothing can beat me down then.
    From almost drowning in Quicksand to finding the strength to rise above and go on.
    Faith…Faith has kept me alive in more ways throughout my life then you could imagine :)
    One of my favorite sayings is:
    "God only gives us what we can handle…I just wish he didn't trust me so much!"
    I've said this numerous times …and I'm sure I will be quoting it again someday.
    I hope that everything turns out good for you Liz. If you need anything let me know! Sending Prayers and Hugs

  2. Thanks for your prayers and hugs, Doreen. That's totally where I was, looking up and saying "Seriously??!!" (with a pretty snarky attitude). Now I'm healing day by day, leaning into God's patience. Thanks for the blessed reminder that God is always on my side.


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