Leaving the Mat

Be Still and Know that I am God. Ps 46:10.  Let go and Let God. I don’t think that one is in there anywhere but I sure hear it often. Both come at me when I am wrestling, when I am struggling and seem to be losing my way. When my faith is shaky, when the foundation under me is crumbling. The words are meant to comfort and guide me, help me catch my breath and center my soul but in the heat of a battle I rarely can remember to be still, to let go. Counterintuitive to any wrestling match, to just stop. What if I let go of my strong hold, the little bit of control I have and all goes to hell-in-a-handbasket, what now? A quick search shows no scripture that guides me in regaining my headlock after release moves. Seemingly, the expectation is to loosen the grip, sit back and listen and wait. Horrible instructions that time and again worked wonderfully, beautifully for those willing to truly follow them.

I have been secretly trying it out. For several months. In the midst of our financial disaster, our estrangement with our daughter, our worry and fear for our son. I have chosen this time to stop wrestling, leave the mat, (I really know nothing of the sport so expect this metaphor to end soon or be misused) shake off the sweat and grime from rolling on the floor with opponents that taunt and mock me. I have taken a shower in God’s promises, I have stopped to listen and most importantly, I have trusted. While hardships stuck their tongue out at me, tried to lure me back into fear and anxiety, while Chef’s mourning threatened to drown me, still I refused to reengage the battle.

Listening for the whispers of God meant seeking out those who hear Him better than me. It meant ignoring those who don’t. It meant being quiet when I wanted to yell or scream or say bad words. It often meant walking away, something that can look hurtful to those on the mat. It meant intentional prayer and seeking out those whose prayers break my soul open.

Letting go meant not sending the cards I wrote out, not putting a stamp on the letters in the envelopes that were fully addressed and ready to hit the mailbox. It meant not reengaging in texting battles (Okay, I had one quick trip back to the mat, but that was an extraordinary circumstance and I found myself feeling filthy and beaten rather quickly. A slip-up that reminded me I am no good at fighting this battle with Arrow.) Letting go meant not accepting the ugliness and desolation that comes with holidays not celebrated with my children, rather being present with ones who were present. It meant allowing Chef to grieve and not falling into depression with him.

What I found is being still and letting go were not passive endeavors, as I have always imagined. I thought I would have to sit. I hate sitting. I thought I would have to wait. I abhor waiting. What I discovered is my time became so full of other pursuits that I barely had time to think about wrestling. No checking the calendar for the next match, I was  off to another meeting, a lunch date, a book club, starting a new ministry. My worry time was transformed, I was transformed.  Before, I said no so often that I was no longer even asked, I stopped looking for ways to grow because I was stuck in the battle. My world was tiny, a gym sized mat consisting of aches over Stella and Arrow, hurts from the past. Allowing myself to let go meant I could say yes. I say yes so often that it is a habit, I am almost becoming an extrovert. (Okay that is a stretch, but I am no longer hiding. An introvert who is out of the shadows is kinda like and extrovert, right?)

It should be noted that resolution has not come to either of those situations. Trust me, if that were true this blog post would start with Hallelujah in the boldest print and then say that 100 times over. Still, I  have a new resolve. I have a new purpose and freedom. I think there just may be something to listening to God and letting God have all of my worries. I pray I can stay off of the wrestling mat, I hope you will join me out of the ring. We can get amazing stuff done out here and trust me, you will feel so much less dirty. Yes, I am now one of those people who just may whisper to you, “Be Still and Know That I Am God.”  Pastor Pat would be proud. Of course his version to me went something like this: Lisa, shut up and listen.  Equally effective.

Will you shut up and listen today, listen for God’s whispering?

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