Anyone who has been around me or had a conversation with me over the last couple of months has heard one of these words come out of my mouth. They’re becoming very close to my soul.
So why did I title this entry “let the ground rest”? Okay, so for a moment let’s have a little gardening lesson.
This phrase first captivated me from the Chris Renzema album – so I let it roll around my head a while until I found meaning.
When someone has a garden with crops every year, it’s customary every few years to let the ground have a break. To not plant or grow in the soil and let it restore its buildup of nutrients and minerals for the future crops to absorb. After several cycles, the crops use up all of these nutrients and leave the ground empty of the life-giving elements required for growth. The break required to restore these nutrients is called “fallowing”.
Now. Imagine you (your soul, mind, and spirit) are a field. Your day-to-day ministry interactions (manifestations of the fruits of the Spirit) are the crops. Your nutrients are going to be where your help comes from. That’s your relationship and line of communication with the Lord.
Whenever your field gets low on nutrients, your crop production will leave A LOT to be desired. Now, a lot of farmers throw in fertilizers to try to make up for this loss of soil integrity, but there’s nothing like the fruit from a healthy soil. It cannot be replicated.
Okay Caitlyn, where are you going with this?
It all started when I read “The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry” by John Mark Comer. That book lit a fire under me and I started seeing the theme of quietness in Scripture.
Where did Jesus go when his earthly ministry got heavy? To the wilderness to be quiet and talk to the Father. So many times in the New Testament I saw this theme. If even Jesus needed calm and quiet time with the Lord – how much more so does my feeble mind need that chance to rest?
As I began to practice quietness in the mornings, I began to notice deficiencies in my soil. I began to see where weeds had taken over. I began to see where chaos had stripped me of my nutrients.
Things like social media, the need to keep up, and stuff. Lots of material things. One by one – through quietness – those things became less important. I have barely got on my social media in the last few months and I don’t miss it. If I do have to log on for one reason or other – that heaviness starts rushing back. That false sense of community and belonging. Instantly, the pull of social validation starts feasting on my internal nutrients.
In other words, the weeds take over.
Now let me interject. I’m not saying social media in itself is wrong. DON’T go delete all your social medias right now because it’s not going to stick unless you do it with the right motive. There is a plethora of good qualities granted to us from that connection to the world. We are able to stay in touch with those who live far away, stay up-to-date on current issues, and find a sense of unity with our surrounding community, At the end of the day, you have to calculate whether the cost is worth the reward. For me, it wasn’t. One day, when I am more healthy in spirit, the cost may be worth it, but for now it’s simply not.
Currently, I’m going through my clothes. Talk about overwhelmed! I HATE doing laundry – mainly because I don’t have room for my clothes when I get them folded. Don’t you think the starving kids overseas just pity me, huh? I’m growing increasingly disgusted with just how many things I own that I don’t need. How many things make my life too loud.
But, aside from getting rid of things, I’ve been adding some things as well. Things like reading fiction every now and then, spending more time with my friends and family, and cooking new recipes I’ve been wanting to try. There’s just something about making your food from scratch that is… calming. I feel like Ma Ingalls slaving away to feed her little pioneer family – from the comfort of my AC and laminate floors, of course.
I say all of that to let you in on a little secret I’ve found out. In Matthew when Jesus says to go into the quiet seclusion of your room and meet with the Father? He meant it. He practiced it. He lived out of it.
It was from this quietness that He stood to face with the Satan and resisted temptation. It was in this quietness that He surrendered through sweat drops of blood to drink of the cup that God the Father had poured for him.
When Jesus found out his best friend was dead – where did he go? To the wilderness to be quiet. Granted, he didn’t make it there because his compassion for the multitude stopped him from going off by himself – but that’s another blog post!
We all have a cup to drink. We all have a sacrifice that is required of us. It’s to die to ourselves – to declare (as Matt Chandler calls it) “violent war” on sin in our lives and in turn pour ourselves out at the feet of Jesus. Secret #2 – I’m not very good at being poured out. I like to keep just a little bit back in case I need it. In case God doesn’t come through. Sounds heathen right? I’m telling you, I’m a rotten piece of work. However, that’s where the quietness does its magic.
In quiet time, He slowly and gently restores those depleted nutrients. He weeds out the invading growth of sin and once He gets me where He wants me, the fruits of the Spirit will grow and thrive. Now the weeds will come back and the nutrients will deplete again, that’s why this state of rejuvenating quietness needs to be a priority in our lives.
Proverbs 8 (in the KJV for this one) says “those that seek me early shall find me”. Other versions use words like “diligently” in the place of “early” or eliminate the adjective entirely. But there’s still a common theme in those differences.
Not only does the Lord demand to be sought, but He demands to be sought out before all else. The Word states that His voice is still and small. Therefore we must quiet ourselves in order to hear that voice. The Lord is far too holy to be in competition with our idols and petty gods. (I’m talking to you snooze button.) When the waves were crashing all around the boat and the disciples were afraid of capsizing, what were the words that Jesus used to instill quietness to the sea and to his disciples?
Peace! Be Still!
I imagine Him having to shout those words over the hectic chaos of my mind some days. Only then was Jesus able to make that situation into a teachable moment for the disciples, the same way I have to quiet myself to be still before Him in order to hear His voice.
So this is my call for you to be still. To lay fallow for just a little while. To stop trying to work your way into peace (whew – that’s another post for another time!)
I’m wrapping up this post with some words of encouragement. A reminder of how diligently the Lord tends to the soil of our lives. He is there, waiting in the calm stillness of the morning, evening, noon, and even that quick 5 minute bathroom break at work.
“Let us know, let us press on to know the Lord. His going out is sure as the dawn, He will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.”Hosea 6:3