Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Get Out of the Rut

Stand on your tiptoes on one foot. Close your eyes, and with the hand you do not favor, stick out your index finger to side and then in a sweeping fashion reach up and touch your nose. Hold that posture (one footed on tiptoes, offhanded, touching your nose with your index finger, with your eyes closed) for as long as you can.

How long did you last? A minute, two, longer? Did you feel great when you gave up and were back flat-footed, bipedal, eyes open, and arms down? Comfort, ahhhhh! It feels so nice to be rid of physical and mental tension. When our experience of tension in life approaches a crescendo, comfort is about all we think about. When we are aching for a rest, we're not ready to hear inspiring oratory urging us to reach higher, stretch further, lift more, go faster. It's annoying and frustrating at that time-- rubbing salt in our wounds.

Sit back in your favorite easy chair. Kick your feet up and relax. Take ten deep cleansing breaths in a row, shut your eyes and lay your head back, and empty every thought from your mind. Hold that position and frame of mind for as long as you can.

How long did you last? You didn't fall asleep did you? Did your rest come to an abrupt end when you remembered something important you had to get done; or with a start, did you jump to your feet, realizing you were hungry for some pretzels, or ice cream or that particular sandwich you had been thinking about earlier? Rest is great for a while, then it gets, well, boring. The antidote to that boredom is hunger: something inspiring that urges us to to reach higher, stretch further, lift more, go faster-- lighting a fire under us.

To always be hungry or to always want rest are unrealistic approaches to life. It's not the way God made us. He grants his beloved rest, AND drives his Son into the desert to battle the devil. To make progress, the most important thing is not getting stuck in a rut. In some ruts, torrents are rushing causing everything stuck there to tumble and roll and be bulldozed down the muddy hill by the tide. In other ruts, things are the same as they've been for so long, the rut itself is the only evidence that something once happened there.

God is a god of comfort and a mighty rushing wind. We need to find peace in either condition in its season, knowing that seasons change. How about you, my friend, are you at peace? Or are you tense and frustrated, restless? Maybe you're foggy, dazed from inactivity, not quite sure where you are or what you're supposed to be doing? If either of those two extremes is your answer, it's time to switch gears. The Holy Spirit will guide you, if you're open to change. There is life outside your canyon, but to experience it, you've got to get out of your rut.