God certainly knew what He was doing when He gave me the word “Abide” as a focus point this year. I’ve been digging deeper to learn how to abide. To be still. To listen. Yet I find myself still striving inside and wrestling with decisions to make and unaccomplished goals.

When I’d set aside time for my devotions, I had often found myself at least subconsciously watching the clock to see when I could stop and get back to the mountain of real work I needed to do.

Knowing there is something extremely messed up about not being able to be truly quiet during my so-called quiet time, I tried something radical. I cleared my schedule, took a short drive, and just sat beside some water. Sized somewhere between a pond and a lake, it had all the necessary elements of water, a few trees, some grass, and even a few feathered guests. A gentle breeze formed a few ripples across the surface of the water, then it stopped, leaving a surface like glass. Water lapped a bit against the shore as gliding ducks created new ripples of their own. The surrounding trees were beginning to leaf out while the grass was transitioning from winter’s brown to the life-giving green of spring.

As I sat, my senses soaked it all in…then calmed. Low-level anxiety and stress and tension melted away and as I sat, something deep down inside began to get filled up. My mind wandered without an agenda. Without a purpose.

I just was.

Beside the still waters, I found a prayer of communion and intimacy taking the place of my earlier prayers of desperation and need. Me and God, hanging out beside the water. No rush to be somewhere or do something. Simply being all the way down to the depths of my soul and trusting God to keep me in the palm of His hand whatever the rest of the day held.

Eventually a pain in my stiff back forced me to move and life’s responsibilities intruded once again. Yet, as I drove back home, I found joy in the realization that my soul had truly been restored beside the still waters.

So far this month, I’ve given myself permission to wait before making a big decision and permission to relax about my never-ending to-do list. Now, I’m giving myself permission to trust even more the One who restores my soul.

After all, that’s what abiding is all about.

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