“The wall we are pounding upon, tempted to walk away from, or passively disappearing at, is actually a well where Jesus is inviting us to sit with Him, drink life-giving water, and stay. Yes, stay.“
– Anjuli Paschall
Easier NOT to Stay
Sometimes it’s easier to run away than stay. Or easier to just distract ourselves. Or even easier to just fight back.
And sometimes each of those is the correct response.
But other times, we need to just stay. And sit. And experience.
This has been one of those times.
[SIDE NOTE: Ironically, I finished reading Paschall’s book Stay before I’d ever heard of COVID-19. Also pre-quarantine, I read Do Nothing and The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry. And The Grumble-Free Year. Um, God? He did lead me to choose “Linger” as my One Word for 2020. But sheltering-in-place didn’t cross my mind.]
Stay Where You Resist
I’m challenged by this statement in the book Stay by Anjuli Paschall:
“Stay where you most resist being.”
Paschall isn’t talking about literal, dangerous situations. If you’re being threatened, don’t stay. Take appropriate action; get away.
She also wasn’t writing about physically staying in our homes, because who knew that was coming? (But now? It applies.)
Instead, she was writing about staying with God in our pain instead of running away.
In this time of a global pandemic, we may feel a general sense of anxiety. But rather than think it through or feel it out, we’d rather do other things with our disturbing thoughts.
- We may deny the thoughts altogether.
- We may drown them in food or substances.
- We may shift to distractions of probabilities or preparations or just plain ol’ worrying.
But what if, instead, we stayed with the anxiety long enough to really see it, to root out its source?
Look underneath the generalities. Are there specific anxious thoughts that need addressing?
Linger to See Then Release
I’m trying now to take a longer pause when I feel anxious. Not to indulge it; that’s not helpful either.
But I need to stay with it long enough to understand it, inviting Holy Spirit to show me what I need to see.
And then, let it go.
Too often we try to let it go before we look at it head-on.
It’s uncomfortable to stay.
But Jesus invites us to stay. With him. Paschall says,
“We have to let the ache be exposed. We have to stay with the pain. We have to let all the nerve endings rise to the surface and let the stinging make us weak. This is where we meet God.
When we stay, He comes. We have to be real with God in order to find real help from God.”
We don’t have to be strong to stay. We just have to be willing.
Paschall also says,
“Jesus is the kind host, inviting us to linger, spill the milk, break a dish, be known, and stay, not as guests, but as daughters.
He wants to hear our laughter, comfort our ache, ask us questions, and heal our hurts. God, in love, always welcomes us to stay and dine at the table with Him. He is cultivating a home within us. This is the sacred gift of staying.”
And when others need us to sit and stay with them, we can do that, too. To listen to them. To listen for God.
Stay at the table. Eat the meal. Then leave together.
And live a more whole, healthier life as a result of the staying.
“When I stay right where I am, with all that is beautiful and bent out of shape, I find God. I find love waiting for me.“
I want to stay for Love.
Are you tired of “staying”? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
My thanks to Net Galley
for the review copy of Stay
- 4 Books I Recommend – April 2020
- On the Blog – April 2020