When God calls timeout
It’s so quiet. The ocean is flat and expansive and green. The sky is peaceful and grey. There are a smattering of hopeful surfers waiting beyond the break, but I think they are just enjoying the waiting; there are no waves to surf. It’s so quiet.
I have nowhere to be. No need to keep an eye on the clock to make sure I’m ready on time. I’m on holidays, sitting in the early morning on the thirteenth-floor apartment balcony, staring at the ocean and sky. I’ve been here for a week and I have another week before I have to go home, back to the busyness, time pressure and responsibility. It’s time to rest.
I find it really hard to stop and be still. I keep track of the time. My mind keeps thinking of ways to be productive. I should be doing something, making myself useful and making the most of the opportunity I have to be here. Not working today? Read this, research this, solve this unresolved problem.
The peaceful grey sky is getting moody. The clouds are thickening. It’s going to be a wet day. I can see the spray of a whale breaching close to the horizon. It’s so quiet.
God is here, in the stillness; in the quiet. In the huge expanse of sky above and water below. The whale jumping on the horizon, the surfers resting on the waves as they wait, the walkers with sand on their feet and shells in their pockets, remind me of God. His generosity, his beauty, his power, his grace.
Be still and know that I am God. God is here. I don’t control my world, my circumstances or my future, but that’s okay because God is here, and I can trust him.
When my kids were small sitting still was a punishment. “Sit there and think about what you’ve done.” Timeout from the situation, whatever was going on, was often all that was needed to bring peace to a frustrated or misbehaving child. Timeout.
Even as an adult, timeout can feel like punishment. We don’t always recognise the value of removing ourselves from the situation, to think about what we’ve done, to let the emotions settle. It doesn’t make sense, in the heat of the moment, that a situation will improve when we walk away. Today I can hear the voice of God, my Father, “Sit here. Sit still and think. Stop doing, stop striving, stop hurrying. It’s time to take time out and calm down”.
It takes faith to stop, to quit the productivity, even for a short while, and trust God with my world. I have to practice the reality of my humanity. It’s not all about me; I am not indispensable; everything is going to be fine without me; the world will go on. And here lies my tension. I want to be helpful, important and significant – all good things. But all of these things can only be true when I take time to be still with God and acknowledge that the world revolves around Him, and not me.
It’s so quiet. In the quiet place, I can recalibrate my heart on who God is, His power and love. I can make peace with my fears and insecurities and lay my burdens down once again. In this quiet place, I can remember God’s faithfulness, celebrate His love, feel the fire of passion to serve Him ignite once again. In this quiet place, He restores my soul.
For one more week, I will sit quietly and enjoy the goodness of God in this beautiful place. The worries of my heart will slowly untangle as I sit and let God pick at the knots. I’ll sit still, in this quiet place, and take time out. It will be time to get back on the playing field soon enough.