It All Starts With Stopping

by Andy Wood on September 23, 2009

in Five LV Laws, Life Currency, LV Cycle, Principle of Increase, Protecting Your Investment, Time

multitaskingMy sister and I used to make mud tea.  We didn’t actually call it that, nor did we actually drink the swill, but when we were small, we’d play around outside with spare dishes.  One of our concoctions invariably involved mixing a little dirt ‘n’ water to make a tasty drink.  When we stirred and stirred our little elixir, the water would take on that irresistible shade of brown.  When we stopped stirring, it stayed muddy.  But when we gave it a rest and went off to other pursuits, the water would always be clearer when we returned.  The mud would have settled to the bottom.

Your life is like that glass in our backyard.  When stirred up, it gets muddy.  It’s easy to become confused, distorted, foggy, fuzzy and dull.  Under the pressure of circumstances, it’s harder to see issues clearly and make good, clear, meaningful decisions.

So… had any “muddy water days” lately?  The phone won’t quit ringing, the baby won’t stop crying, everybody needs your help at the same time, you have major, life-changing decisions to make, you have a week’s worth of money to pay a month’s worth of bills, you spend the entire day running about 30 minutes behind, and then you turn on the radio and some clown is singing, “It’s a Beautiful Morning.”

You aren’t alone, you know.  The Bible is full of examples of people whose lives were “stirred up,” frustrated, anxious, and confused.  The sons of Korah spoke to people who felt as though the earth was being removed and the mountains were being shoved into the sea.  Their answer?  “Be still (cease striving), and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

David told the Lord on one occasion that he was restless.  “Please listen and answer me, for I am overwhelmed by my troubles,” he said (Psalm 55:2-3, NLT).  But the lesson he learned from that experience was priceless:  “Pile your troubles on God’s shoulders – he’ll carry your load, he’ll help you out. He’ll never let good people topple into ruin” (Psalm 55:22, The Message).

Isaiah understood that experience.  “Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall” (Isaiah 40:30-31).  Why do youths grow tired and weary?  Why do young men, in the prime of their strength, stumble and fall?  Because they haven’t learned to renew their strength!  And they haven’t recognized the priceless value of resting in the Lord.

Have you ever noticed that God’s strategy is different from ours?  First, you wait, then you work.  First you rest, then you take action.  When God created a world with 24 time zones, the evening came first.  Sleep comes first.  Work comes later.  That’s far removed from our typical mindset, cheerily expressed by actress Bette Davis: 

“I am doomed to an eternity of compulsive work. No set goal achieved satisfies. Success only breeds a new goal. The golden apple devoured has seeds. It is endless.” 

In God’s way of doing things, you do your work in the stance of “restedness.”  Quiet, then action.

Remember Joshua and Jericho?  When the Israelites reached the border to Canaan, did they charge straight into the river Jordon?  No. Joshua sounded the red alert, then they took three days to think about it, rest on it, and get ready.  Rest first, then came the battle. 

Think about the book of Acts.  There you will read an incredible account of the explosive growth of the early church.  Action everywhere!  Traveling, witnessing, establishing churches, dying for the faith.  But before all the action, there is absolute stillness.  Preceding Pentecost you have a chapter of quiet, of rest, of prayer, of waiting on God.

Just plan on it – when life gets crazy or exhausting and you need time to be refreshed or revitalized, something nearly always comes up.  Life has declared war on anything that renews your strength.  If the devil can’t keep you off the narrow road, he’ll cut your brake lines.

“Martha, dear Martha,” Jesus said.  (It’s O.K. to substitute your name here.) 

“You’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it – it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her” (Luke 10:41-42, The Message).

When you’re frenzied and frustrated, and it makes absolutely no sense to stop, you’re going to have to say no, perhaps to the most difficult person of all – yourself.  The size of the vision, the enormity of the possibilities, the potential impact of the increase all cry out: 

Don’t just do something. 

Stand there.

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