Stop, Look and listen. Every child learns we should act in that order when planning to cross the street. All the looking and listening is pointless if one doesn't first stop, right? I guess that's why I was pulled over a couple of months ago for rolling through a red traffic light at the Landisville exit ramp of Rte 283 ... oops. Thankfully the officer was gracious with me and I pulled away without a ticket. Lesson learned, though.
Recently I wrote a blog about listening and then followed it with some thoughts about looking. A couple of weeks ago I taught the 1st and 2nd graders at church about our Sabbath day of rest. It got me thinking about stopping and how that worked/should work in my life. (I had not planned for this to be a series)
Our lesson plans for the kids included playing some simple games to evaluate what is work, what is rest and what is play. What makes us tired? Can we help someone and still worship God? We found that for each of us different things fall into different categories. For one of the games, as I listed different activities, we all jumped to one side of a tape line for things we thought were work and the other side for things we viewed as restful. Not everyone agreed on what activities were work and what were rest; and that was ok. We talked about it.
I thought about it, too. Walking in the woods or going for a run or a long drive can be a perfect scenario for me to focus my heart on God. I could find it restful spending the day helping out at a farm or even cleaning my room.. But can I do "x" and FOCUS on God? I am well aware that it's when we truly stop and then rest that we remember that we
belong to Him. Our Sabbath rest reminds us that we need His strength.
I chat with God throughout my day, but this is something different ... this stopping. It's making a time set apart and holy. I have to consciously be mindful to do this. It should involve getting out of the daily grind, unplugging, stepping away, just being. Worship, Rest. Engage ... but first stop.
I often try to switch gears from a busy day into some sort of intentional time with God ... usually I read a quick something or other from my Bible App. Sometimes I journal. Sometimes I just start listing off desperate cries of prayer or intercession. Engaging with God on any level is good ... but that stopping and resting is so important and so key. I have learned so much about the value of the secret place and that set aside time. I know I must stop before doing the rest.