Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Do You Have a "Be Still & Know" Place?

The path leading to my Be Still & Know spot in the mountains
Eureka! I found it! A little soggy maybe, and I sometimes leave there polka-dotted with more than a few mosquito pox, but it's a special secret spot that I know Papa God picked out specially for me.

Why do I need such a place? And more importantly, why do you need such a place? Read on ...

With our hectic schedules and crazy-busy lifestyles, sometimes we just can't get a bead on that still, small voice of God. And that's exactly what it takes - being still - to truly know that He is God and know what He is whispering to our spirits.

"Be still, and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10, NIV, emphasis mine.)

Oh, we can say it till we're purple; we can sing it in praise songs and hymns, we can spell it out through our journaled thoughts and even write books about it.

He is God. He's in control.
He's got the whole world in His hands.
Our God is an awesome God (a nod to the unequaled Rich Mullins who is probably tearing up Heaven's best Steinway with his praise songs at this very minute).

But our words often smear on the chalkboards of our minds and somehow miss a connection with our hearts.

In order to internalize the incredible width and breadth and depth of the goodness and godness of Papa God, not to mention the unbelievable fact that He desires an intimate relationship with each of us, we must mute the cacophony of the world, find stillness of our bodies, minds, and emotions, and allow our hearts to ingest this truth ... only then can we really know.

So how do we find this elusive stillness? Where do we go? What do we do once we get there?

A few years back, I rooted out a Be Still & Know spot up in the woods near our mountain cabin. I actually stumbled across it one day by accident, but the minute I saw the fallen logs that formed a cozy woodland seat and back support amid the beautiful forest greenery, I knew. I immediately realized that Papa God had it earmarked especially for me. For the time we would spend together. For the precious time I would sit, be still, and just know.  

My secret spot is off the beaten path, so it's secluded - no unexpected visitors, loud noises (just birds and bunnies and bush beasties), or interruptions (I always turn my phone off during my Be Still & Know time). It's near the one-of-its-kind, humongous tree - almost as enormous as I imagine a Sequoia to be - that reminds me of Papa's bigness, His incredible power.

A few yards away, there's a reflection pool - the tiniest of ponds, actually more like a large clear puddle, filled with chilled mountain rainfall  that reflects the majestic green treetops surrounding this sacred place. The place where my soul drinks in His beautiful creation and feels the magnitude of the Creator of all things ... and I know. 

As wonderful as my mountaintop cathedral is, I'm not up there much of the year. I'm down here. In flat, hot, humid Florida. So I petitioned the Lord for a Be Still & Know spot here too. And just last week, He provided one.

So what that it borders a marsh? (watching out for them gators!); that it's halfway underwater after a hard rain? (I can borrow my grandbuddy's rubber Spiderman boots). Listen, who cares about a few (dozen) mosquito bites? It's secluded (who else in their right mind would go there?). I have a bottle of Off. The resident sand hill cranes have welcomed me with open wings. And Papa plans to meet me there every single time I show up.

I was convinced the minute I saw the fallen logs that formed a cozy lakeside Be Still & Know site (some might even argue that it's IN the lake). Not as majestic as the mountains maybe, but hey, this is Florida. The only mountains we have are speed humps.

So I'm excited. I now have my own little hideaway to, well, hide away. And know. 

How about you? Do you have a Be Still & Know place of your own?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Perfecting My Stinky Face

Stinky Face Contest Winner
Yesterday's conversation as my 3-year-old grandbuddy Blaine watched me putting on my make-up to go to work:

Blaine: What's that stuff do, Mimi?
Me: It's blush; it makes me look less dead, er, I mean it gives me more color.
Blaine: Oh. Why do you want to be pink?
Me: I don't want to be pink. I just don't want to look like a walking marshmallow.
Silence while he contemplates this deep concept.
Blaine: What are you doing now, Mimi?
Me: Spraying perfume to make me smell pretty. See - [holding out left wrist for olfactory inspection] - what do you think?
Blaine: [making identical face to the little guy in the photo] Ugghh. You smell like my Pull-Ups.


I, too, have been perfecting my stinky face lately. Not intentionally, but often when I pass the reflective surface of a mirror, microwave, or window, I'm floored at the horrible expression staring back at me. The thing is, I'm not necessarily angry ... or sad ... or even displeased. I'm just preoccupied. So preoccupied that I'm not aware of what my face is doing, and apparently when ignored, my facial muscles default to the same scowl I'd seen on my mother's face a million times as a child.

I used to think she was always mad at me. And once when I asked her what I'd done, she seemed surprised and responded, "Why, nothing. I'm not upset with you; I'm focused on what I'm doing. Just ignore my face."

Well, of course that's impossible. The face is the window into the mind, and we as human beings are prone to reading the faces of those standing before us to discern what they're thinking. Frowns, pouts and snarls indicate indignation, resentment, and wrath, whereas a pleasant countenance reflects interest, encouragement, and concern. A warm and sincere smile makes us feel warm too, as well as accepted, uplifted, and loved all over. A slack jaw, sagging muscles and glazed-over eyes shout fatigue, boredom and disinterest.

It's the way Papa God wired us. Reading faces is our feedback mechanism to know where we stand with others. Body language sends signals loud and clear to those around us about what's going on inside.

So that leads me to these convicting questions: Does my expression edify people or frighten the bejeebies out of them? Are they blessed or intimidated? Does the love of Jesus shine through my eyes and encourage through my smile? Has my face caught on to the joy of the Lord in my heart?

In a nutshell, is the God's-love-with-skin-on-it ME I want to portray to people I encounter the ME they really see?  I'm supposed to attract them to Him, right, not repel them?

Hmm. Maybe I should tell my face the good news more often. Maybe I should make a serious effort to be more aware of my subconscious stinky face and offer my countenance to the Lord as an instrument of praise.

And leave the Eau de Pull-Ups at home.