Be still and know that I am God.
- Psalm 46:10
How long has it been since I tried to sit still? To be quiet? To listen?
It feels like all of Lent was this huge rush just to get to the finish line. I started with such good intentions, shortening our school weeks, stepping back from my book group, trying to minimize my commitments. But yet...the pressure just kept pounding. I feel like I was never really able to catch a breath, much less be still.
All of my good intentions to pause, to add prayer time, to spend more time preparing for Easter all seemed to end up in failure. None of those actually bore any fruit. Once we hit the point where we all managed to get sick....and then get sick again....nothing went according to my plan.
So, if I couldn't find time to be still, how could I ever find time to know God? How could I ever know that He is God....if I couldn't even be still?
God showed Himself to me in other ways this Lent. It wasn't my plan, but it seems to have been His plan. I came to know and love Him more in ways I never ever could have contemplated before Ash Wednesday this year.
A friend of mine recently stated a bit of regret for what she saw as a failed Lenten season. In her words, she "fell asleep" during Lent, referencing the apostles who fell asleep while Jesus was praying in the garden.
At first, I agreed with her. I mean, I had failed at every single Lenten resolution that I had made, save one. (I made it to Confession before the end of Lent). I definitely felt a sense of failure, a sense that I had fallen asleep.
But then I realized something. Often in our spiritual lives, we experience an "awakening." We become aware of something, or something is revealed to us. We are "woken up."
But .... you can't wake up unless you fall asleep first. That would be impossible. Waking up before you fall asleep is illogical....disordered. It's just impossible.
Once I realized this, my sense of falling asleep seemed to make sense. God had allowed me to fall asleep precisely because He wanted me to be able to wake up.
What I saw as my failures were instead opportunities to release myself from the world, from this need to be in control....and to give God the room to bring about an awakening in my spiritual life.
I had started Lent asking God to help me learn to trust Him and to fall more deeply in love with Him. He did exactly that...by allowing me to fall asleep.
No longer was I in control - which was shown time and time again this Lent as I broke another Lenten resolution, often due to a factor seemingly out of my control. I was asleep, unable to control what was happening around me. I floundered in a dreamlike state for most of Lent - - just trying to make it through the day.
With incredible clarity, I began to see things about myself, my life, and what God was asking me to change. The sun was starting to rise, and rays of light were slowly peeking around the blackout curtains I'd hung up and illuminating areas of my life that I'd been trying to keep in the shadows. In my bleary-eyed, half-asleep state....God was showing me how to begin to trust Him.
He was allowing me to be still and know that He was God.
On Easter Sunday, the Son rose and woke me up from my Lenten slumber.
It's a new day. My world has been illuminated with the morning sun. I'm stretching, yawning, shaking the last bit of sleep from my body...and I am standing up.
It is a new day. I am finally awake.
I'm ready to step forward, renewed and refreshed by His love.
I am ready to begin again.