A while ago I wrote the following…
A prayer to be kept in perfect peace
Stay my mind on you today,
Help me trust you come what may.
For what may come is my Father’s will,
His glory to bring and my cup to fill.
(based on Isaiah 26:3)
In this season however I am really struggling to stay my mind on the Lord. In fact I am struggling to stay my mind on anything. My mind feels more like a search light scanning the area back and forth desperately looking for something.
I constantly check my phone for a WhatsApp message from a friend – maybe I can stay my mind on that friendship, that valuing of me – at least for a moment. Next I check my email looking for some positive feedback on a project I shared with someone – approval might provide a resting place. And if all else fails there’s always just watching something or eating something or making another cup of tea….
It’s so foolish and futile though. None of these things are giving me much peace at all – let alone perfect peace. And of course when the WhatsApp reply or the email fails to materialise – far from being guarded and kept – my peace is assaulted and depleted.
And it’s even more foolish and futile because I know the answer and I know I know the answer. I know the answer even as I’m desperately, hungrily scanning away. I know where the treasure is!
So why won’t I stay my mind on my great, good, glorious, gracious Lord? And when I finally do try, why won’t it settle?!
Why, when the scanner sweeps over that huge X does it not starting beeping excitedly?
Well it’s bust isn’t it, I mean it’s dodgy at the best of times, but in the current climate (COVID-19) it is way off. It’s looking for the land of the quick fix and the kingdom of make it go away! It’s craving easy, numbing, low effort relief and it’s obviously unconvinced by the Lord as a source of that.
Which is pretty disturbing news to me.
Disturbing, but also revealing – as times of pressure often are. It would appear that – whatever good habits and routines I have (at times!) managed to sustain I basically fear (and not in the good way) falling at the feet of my Lord and finding my rest in him. There must be something about going to him that doesn’t feel safe enough or easy enough or simple enough or immediate enough. There must be something that I think is required when going to him that I know I just don’t have right now. There is something about it that isn’t a free action – it comes with a price tag and not one I am prepared to pay in this time of crisis. There’s not enough of me left / going spare for that right now – what I need is the next episode in a box set and a bowl of salted almonds!
And it’s not even that I am telling myself off for any of this. I get the need for self-care and kindness and being realistic in the season we are in. I get that the reality of my sin, my flesh, my old-self makes it costly to die to self and come to Jesus – that we are always going to struggle with that being automatic and easy this side of heaven. But the Lord promises that “he will keep her in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on him – because she trusts him” and I feel emboldened to explore what may be getting in the way of that now that our current situation has lifted the lid and shone the light on problems that prefer to hide away in the shadows.