Uncomfortable Important Disruptions

A few weeks ago, I went on a retreat. It’s something I’ve done the last few years—a necessity I’ve found. It’s different from a vacation. There are rarely places to go or sites to see or a strong Wi-Fi signal. These retreats are a time to pause, to pray, to be in the Lord’s presence. Every year I find the Father eager to speak, or maybe He’s always that eager. Maybe this intentional time forces me to pause long enough to hear His voice more clearly.

Also, every year, without fail, it rains. Like that weak Wi-Fi signal, the rain disrupts the norm. The storm clouds foil my plans. I put away my running shoes and check the weather every hour to see when the rain will finish. From the stillness of the showers, I hear the Lord call, “Rest. Be still. There’s nowhere for you to go and nothing for you to do so linger with me a little longer.”

I’m not great at sitting still. Sometimes the quiet can feel like too much for me, and I don’t mean silence. I mean a greater kind of quiet—a quiet schedule with absolutely nowhere I need to go or nothing I need to do. This kind of stillness quietly terrifies me, because even on my most free day, I make plans. I have lists of things I can or should do.

And this is why I go on retreats.
And this is why I think the Father sends the rain.

Even as I typed these words, the skies began to clear, the rain fell a little slower, and I felt the temptation to check the weather once more.

If it stops raining, I can go on my run
And move on to the next thing
And then I can start resting.

Of course I see how ridiculous those thoughts are. Of course I see the nonsense. Of course of course of course. But I still can’t help it, because silence and quiet—in whatever form they take—have a way of disrupting us.

I am a doer, a worker. It’s a trait and value instilled by my parents so very long ago, and I’d like to think it’s a strength. I’d like to think it’s a gift. But all this doing, all this working, can be a trap, because here in this space, I can forget who’s God and who’s not.

I am not God.
Dear heart, don’t hustle. It’s not you who makes the trees grow.

Retreats have a way of reminding me of this simple truth. They disrupt my schedule and plans long enough to remind me that the world doesn’t stop spinning if I rest for a few days. The Kingdom grows and breathes. People still fall in love and find hope and fight another day. We still cultivate joy.

The trees still grow.

I think we all need these kinds of disruption. We all need a pause—something more than a vacation. We need a true disruption—like a rainy day or no Wi-Fi or a dead phone or a TV that’s turned off or a true Sabbath with no to-do list. Maybe, in these disruptions, in this quiet we just might experience more of the Father who reminds us He is God and we are not.

So let the quiet, the stillness fill your heart and mind and home today—even if it’s just for a short while. Let it disrupt you and make you uncomfortable. And as you squirm in your chair and wonder when you can move onto the next thing, remember not to hustle. It’s not you who makes the trees grow.

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