I’ve never been good at doing nothing. When I was younger my parents used to have to remind me to sit down and sit still. Not much has changed as I got older except learning to prioritise and appreciating sleep. I love being busy. Which is why I find Psalm 46:10 really hard to keep to. The call to “be still”- I’ve always struggled with not associating that with “do nothing”. When trouble comes, often I find comfort in the work. The doing, the fixing, the planning. So lately when I’ve been hearing God’s call for stillness I’ve wavered a bit into old habits and began to plan. Not a lot but just plan A-C. Not too much; but just a bit so as to not appear to be ill prepared should the worst happen. And slowly, without realising how much my bit of planning is potentially unravelling my trust. And undoing the plan of God. The storms I’ve encountered lately have been used by the Holy Spirit to highlight another area of weakness for me. To trust Him and say that I really trust Him means that I will trust his plan, laying aside my own. Not alongside or with mine a couple of steps behind. But actually let go and fully surrender even if I can’t see the way. A friend recently described this picture to me as putting your hand out into the darkness and reaching for God’s hand; not asking for the light for the way but trusting that he knows the way. And having put my hand in his, to step into the unknown. Because He will never lead me astray. So step by step, hand in hand, I renew my journey into stillness.
My daughter is fearless. She genuinely is. She’s not afraid of climbing, falling, jumping, crying, screaming, laughing, feeling, asking. She is not afraid of pain, or adults or big and small animals. When she turned three she developed a fear of water in her eyes. And getting her hair wet, or washed. So on nights when I would do this I’m convinced the neighbours thought I was beating her or hurting her in some way. But she’s since started swimming lessons. And I’m pleased to say that her fear of water seems all but gone now. As she gains confidence she has begun to throw water on her face in the bath. And to jump into the shower before swim class with giddy excitement. And to splash me as I supervise bath time. I love it because now that she’s not afraid anymore I enjoy her squeals as I splash her back. It is pure joy, watching her live a life of no fear. Sometimes I think she’s too fearless. And in my weakness I try to make her like me because I start to see her fearlessness as a weakness. I try to remind her that it might be a bit too ambitious to try and conquer that massively high slide in the park; ‘you’re too young for that’, I say. And I watch as she pulls a disappointed face often followed by defiance as she attempts it despite my warning and conquers it. I’m left speechless and stifle a strained ‘well done’ often followed by more warnings. I know it’s important to be safe. I want her to know that, too. But I fear in my fear I’ve been missing what God is teaching me through her as well. I have failed to see the times that she checks to see where I am before she launches herself down the massive slide. Or where I am when she is attempting the monkey bars or cartwheels or the zip line or even when she runs off as fast as she can through the park without a second thought for the pram that restricts me behind. In my fear I always miss it. But she always looks to see where I am. And when she is reassured that I haven’t left her, or that I am there to catch her should she fall, she Leaps, and jumps and slides and runs and screams and asks. Because she is confident that I am there, I am watching, and she is safe. Tonight at church someone gave us a word from God that said: ‘be a child again’. That is my prayer. To be so confident in His abilities that I am free to attempt the impossible, the scary, and to navigate life with such freedom that I forget the fear. Not because the fear isn’t real, but because it is overcome by his presence. And by His love. Oh that I may be a child again, Lord! Your child!