Resting While Doing and Resting While “Just Being”
At the Art, Vocabulary for the Soul Retreat last weekend, we contemplated “Resting in Jesus” and responded with paintings, poetry, song writing and just being in community together. It was so beautiful! This group of eleven was great and we felt so blessed to have spent the weekend together.
We were also honored to have Rev. Larry Lindoff and his wife Colleen join us as special guests this time. Larry shared with us on Saturday his own journey of understanding “Resting in Jesus.” He reflected on the Mary and Martha story (Luke 10:38-42) ... Martha gets a lot of flak. Martha was distracted.
What if it wasn’t the doing that was the problem, but how she was “worried and distracted” as she was doing it. If she slowed down and was able to be present to Jesus’ teaching as she worked would it have been the same? What if we can restfully do our work, being present to the situation we are in; not going at the frantic, hectic pace our world seems to thrive on?
I appreciated that thought. I have been listening to Russ Hudson, a teacher of the Enneagram. He talks a lot about being present, and slowing down enough to feel present as we are “doing.”
But sometimes we do need to “just be,” like Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus.
“When I am constantly running there is no time for being. When there is no time for being there is no time for listening.”
― Madeleine L'Engle, Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art
Several years ago, I took a personal retreat at King’s Fold. It had been a busy time and I was feeling exhausted. I found that all I could do was sit on the benches and look at the view. It was the first time I really understood what Madeleine L’Engle described as “being time.” No agenda, no thoughts, no books, no “should’s, or “have to”s, just being, just “here I am, resting.” I found that all I could do was just sit there and be quiet with God. I was too exhausted in my spirit to do anything else. It was an anomaly.
As we listened to the scriptures last weekend particularly the one about not worrying because God will provide as he does for the birds of the air and lilies of the field (Matt 6:25-34), I heard from God to “Just Be.” So, when we sent people out to listen, I went out on a bench and sat in the sunshine to just rest and sit in God’s presence and napped in the sunshine until lunchtime. It gave me the energy to be present to each of the people I was teaching and sharing with in the long afternoon session.
Later, as I was cleaning up, a simple melody came with simple praise words. I believe it came out of my content and joyful sense of being at rest that I was experiencing during the retreat. The song has been continuing to play in my mind as I work this week.
It is nice to feel at rest and not frantic while doing or being.