I mentioned in part one of this blog (https://baptist-atlantic.ca/news/show-up-and-shut-up-part-1/) that God used a little yearling to remind me that I needed to “show up and shut up!” I had five wonderful days of rest, Bible reading, prayer, and quiet listening (no electronic devices). Trust me even while on retreat I felt like I had to fight the demons of resistance and struggle that pull me away from God’s presence. But it was worth the struggle.
I began to realize again that so many of my internal battles are fear based. I am afraid of failing, I am afraid of disappointing others, I am afraid of making a big mess of things in ways that impact the Church of Jesus Christ. I was reminded of Peter walking on the water to Jesus, as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus everything went along fine. The moment he began to look at the ridiculously high waves and the hurricane force winds he became afraid and started sinking like a rock (pun intended).
It took pushing away from my hectic schedule to gain the perspective I needed. David wrote in Psalm 23, “I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” I pondered those words and wrote in my journal, “It is not the absence of fear I need but the presence of God.” Being with God and experiencing the loving presence that is always with me brought deep peace to my soul.
Why is it so hard for me to learn these lessons? Why do I need to learn them again and again?
In a wonderful book, Dear Heart, Come Home, Joyce Rupp writes, “… Many of our efforts to hide in the clutter of busy activity have left a dry, stale taste in our soul and we are crying out to be held in the embrace of simple presence.” “Be still and know that I am God!” (Psalm 46:10). It was a remarkable week of reconnecting and experiencing what I already knew intellectually
On my final day of retreat I was out for one last walk when I encountered a little yearling deer again. In my mind it had to be the same little fellow I had seen on day one of the retreat and once again I was able to get really close to it; and once again he actually walked towards me rather than retreating. It was very special but I sensed God wanted to burn the message into my sub-conscious: Peter, don’t take so long, don’t wait until you are totally stressed, slow down, be quiet and let yourself experience what My word says, “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” (Psalm 16:11) My advice to anyone reading this little piece is simply this, why don’t you buck the trend of your own resistance and try it, “Show up and Shut up!”