My surgery didn’t last forever. To be exact, it lasted 3 hours and 11 minutes. After it was over, I was hobbling out sporting a thigh-high compression stocking, Spanx, blood-soaked wrappings (aren’t you loving these visuals?!), a bottle of pain meds, and a new set of instructions…
Hold the phone. I had just undergone SURGERY for crying out loud! I was hoping the prescription pad would read, “Eat candy all day…you deserve it! Docter’s orders!” …with a big fat 🙂 SMILEY 🙂 face after it. Or perhaps a note that said, “Elevate that leg, watch girly movies, and stay off your feet. Rest, rest, rest!” I didn’t even get an “Apple a day keeps the doctor away.” I got the order to simply: MOVE!
Moments before, I had been laying in pain with the order to BE STILL. Don’t move! Dr. Payne and The New Girl had work to do…and my only job was to BE STILL.
The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. Exodus 14:14
As I’ve reflected on pain, suffering and the desire we all have as humans to OVERCOME challenges that we face, it has struck me powerfully that sometimes we try to take matters into our own hands, to fix things that we have no knowledge or power to fix. There are times when frankly, we just need to be still. There are times when grabbing the knife from the doctor’s hand because “you know better” is just plain stupid. Actually, that’s always stupid.
I’ll tell you something else that’s stupid. (besides the recent price increase on my favorite makeup. Sigh.) It’s stupid to just read one verse from the Bible, and blindly live by it, without understanding it’s context. I can say this, because I’ve done it. Do it. Ugh.
Before I ever “came out of the closet” with my struggle with an eating disorder, I was trying to overcome it…just me and God. Root causes of my disorder were of course pain and suffering…which again, I was trying to overcome…just me and God. I don’t remember when or how I stumbled upon the words in Exodus 14:14…
The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.
…but I remember hoping for, believing in, and praying for these words to be true in my fight. I was hoping for, believing in, and praying that the Lord would fight my fight and all I had to do was be still. He said it, right? It’s in the Bible, right? He’s the doctor with the knife, and I’m just the patient, right?
I don’t think this is a yes or no answer. I think the answer is more like, “keep reading.”
And when I did, I found some CRAZY stuff that had me on the edge of my seat…
1. BEFORE any of this “be still” stuff, the Bible says that God was not taking these people on the direct, shorter route. (a direct, shorter route did, indeed exist!) He purposefully took them on a longer route. Not accidentally. Purposefully. Sound familiar in your life? It does in mine!
2. BEFORE any of this “be still” stuff, the Bible says that God let them be chased. He let them get cornered. But the entire time, he also was leading them. Ever felt “chased” in life? Cornered? Could it be that is ON the way, not IN the way of your story?
3. The people that were told to “be still” were panicked. They were so confused why God would let them be cornered, that naturally they started asking: “Was it because…” (questioning) “What have you done…” (accusing) “Didn’t we say to you…” (finger pointing) Been there? (yes, pick me!)
4. It’s AFTER the questions, AFTER the heat-in-on, AFTER the nerves are on edge…it is NOW Moses says to “be still.”
5. Immediately following, God says: “Tell the Israelites to MOVE on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground.” Could it be, that the only way we can have energy to MOVE into the next thing God has for us, is to first take that deep breath, calm down, and be still? Could it be, that the words “be still” are for our own sake, as it’s hard to MOVE when our energy, life, and hope are gone?
What does a coach want their team to do before a big game? Be still, sleep, rest, re-charge. What’s the best thing to do before walking on stage to speak in front of a group? (besides picturing them naked) Be still, deep breathing, gain focus. What is the best thing to do when we feel that our pain, our suffering, our trials, our unanswered questions, our daily challenges are just too much to handle? PANIC!!!
Just kidding. It’s best to be still. But it’s just plain lazy to STAY still.
Dr. Payne and The New Girl told me I did a great job that day. I kind of wanted a sticker for sitting so still, but (sigh) they didn’t make the offer. They also were really clear that being still was no longer an option…that part was over, and moving was in order. The consequences of not moving? Oh, you know, tingling, numbness, achiness, swelling, blood clots…DEATH. No big deal.
You might be wondering, “but how do I know when it’s time to be still and when it’s time to move? How do I know when I’m supposed to be fought FOR and when I’m supposed to join the fight?” As an Ameteur Blogger (confident hair flip)…my qualifications to answer that for you end here. But what I will say, is that the answer is probably less of “yes or no” and more of a “Keep Reading”…I am always pleasantly surprised when I do.