Selah And Sickness
(This beautiful graphic was created by my friend Nicole from bloomtheblog) This past year has been a blur in many ways. I began 2014 with a heart to make much of Jesus in Life Lived Beautifully, but I had no idea what that would look like. I began selling art prints and watercolor stationery in January and also had several opportunities to speak at different events. I had no idea that by March I would be in the dreaming stages again and in April would begin the journey of making a quiet time journal. As I worked and prayed, my heart couldn't have dreamed of what the rest of the year would bring - lessons, hard work, and stepping out of the boat.
It has been a beautiful adventure, but I haven't walked it perfectly. There have been so many moments I was was overwhelmed with the tasks ahead of me. Every roadblock and learning curve seemed unsurmountable at times. And yet I had to embrace the strength of Christ and push through. Hard work isn't easy, but it is part of the dreaming process. I've worried about little things, mistaken my identity several times for what I do and not who I am in Christ, and trusted in my abilities and not just the work of the Holy Spirit in me. In each of the weaknesses, God has drawn me back to His heart.
The journey has been humbling in every aspect. When I thought I was strong, I remembered my weaknesses. When I thought I could do it all, I hit my limit. When I thought I could make it all happen, I realized I can't make anything good happen apart from God's leading and enabling. I've wanted to confess my weaknesses to my friends who follow Life Lived Beautifully, because I think it is much more important that Christ be glorified when I am weak and not just when I feel strong. Paul understood this when he wrote 2 Corinthians 12:9-10:
"But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
There is great strength and joy when we can embrace our weakest moments and cling to Christ in them. I haven't done this perfectly this year, but my heart longs to know what this means and to live it. I long for others to see the gospel at work in me and in this business. The year is almost up and I keep looking back in complete awe at what God has done. If it had been left up to me, I am sure I might have headed down a different path. This is all for His glory, and I want to do whatever it takes that Christ be in the spotlight at all times.
Which leads me to last night. I ended my work year on Friday to enjoy the holiday season with family. Being 17 weeks pregnant, I began to feel pretty exhausted and worn out after working so much these past few weeks. Normally I can push past long hours and hard work days, but recently my body hasn't been up for that. By yesterday, I had worn myself out and ended the year with a good dose of exhaustion. And then night came and a stomach bug hit. One of the worst I have ever had. As I lay on the floor in pain, I couldn't help but be reminded of my weakness in that moment. My husband couldn't fix my sickness, and I couldn't fix it. All I could do was to be still and wait and ask for the Lord's help.
Even today I have had to do nothing and just rest after a tiring, sleepless night. My natural inclination in life is to keep going, keep pushing, and get things done. But my body made me stop last night and spend the day in stillness. As much as I wish I could have bypassed the illness I had last night, I am grateful that God used something so uncomfortable to make me stop and be still. In the 40-day Give Me Jesus Journal, there is a daily reminder for us to "Selah" - to pause or be still. There are so many days I skip past that. I keep going and going with very little margin (or perhaps no margin at all.) I even created the "Be Still & Know" coffee mug as a reminder to add "selah" into my days.
The meaning of "selah" is to praise, to lift up, to pause. Throughout the Psalms this word is placed in different chapters for the musicians or singers to take a break from what they were doing or a breath. It could even be a signal for them to lift their hands in worship. Selah is a gift of God and an attitude of worship. It is to choose to take our eyes off of our schedules and lists and place them back on the Lord, even if for but a brief moment.
My recent sickness has reminded me of the importance of having "selah" moments in our days. Sometimes built in, sometimes spontaneous. Our hearts should be soft toward God and worshipful at all hours of the day (even the ones filled with problems, hardships, and noise). Whether the Lord uses sickness to bring this reminder to your heart, or simply a sunrise, or a verse in Scripture, may we all embrace moments to pause and praise the Lord, whether that be in stillness or with children running all around us. He is still God when our lives our noisy and when they are quiet. He is God when we are weak from sickness and when we are healthy and energetic. He is God when we are in need of money to get by and when we have all our needs met. He is always worthy of praise no matter what circumstance we are in life.
Taking time to selah this evening. Would you join me?
God, would you redeem the days we have wasted and bring to our hearts a love for "selah" moments in our lives. You are worthy of praise at all times. Be magnified in this world. In Jesus name, Amen.