"Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This a declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I trust Him...He will cover you with His feathers, He will shelter you with His wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection."
Psalms 91:1-2, 4
I got to share the stage with some incredible women, all who had different perspectives on how this promise has been lived out in their lives and different challenges for those present on how to tap into God's refuge themselves.
In studying for this opportunity, I had a chance to make this promise more real in my own life and when it was time to share I wanted to encourage my fellow sisters in Christ to simply trust that this promise is real. It can be experienced in a very real way, not in a purely spiritual sense, but in the same sense that God calls us to love him with our whole selves.
"And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength." Mark 12:30 - Jesus, when asked what of all the commands was the most important.
Like the everything you need promise of 2 Peter 1:3, we can come to appreciate this promise is true in every part of us. We can learn to experience it in our spirit, our heart, our minds and our bodies. For some of us, we may need to think of things differently to make that happen. For some of us, we may have been taught or learned erroneously that God's promises are simply spirit promises. That God doesn't move beyond a bolstered spirit and calmed emotional state.
I think a big part of why we sometimes fail to experience God's promise in real ways, is that that we fail to call every part of us into believing that promise is true. We don't ask our whole selves to get involved in mediating and submitting to these promises. We somehow think that just repeating the promise or simply believing it is true will make it happen.
I believe we need to include our whole selves in the the practice of engaging in these promises. That our spiritual practices are meant to help us draw into God's promises and require that we use every part of ourselves to experience God's truths. If we do not engage our mind in a promise, how can our heart follow? If our heart is wrought with anxiety, unchecked, how can we hope to experience spirit level peace? If we do not adjust our thoughts or bodily behaviors, why would we expect some of these promises to be fully experienced by us in our real lives?
To experience this promise of refuge in our real lives, we need to engage our whole selves by:
Engaging our hearts - to engage our hearts we need to acknowledge why we are seeking refuge. What is going on in our hearts that we need that peace? What are we seeking refuge from, exactly? What are you hiding under those wings for?
Is it fear of judgement, unmet expectations, or of unmet desires?
Are you afraid he will leave? Or they will not come home? That the children will never come, or that that that man of God will never be found? Are you worried the diagnosis won't be what you want? Or, that this struggle is too much? Are you afraid of what they think? Or, are your own thoughts the cruelest ones?
Are you fearful of failure? Or weary of the wrong kind of success? Are you worried? Anxious? Weary? Lost?
Acknowledge it. Say it. Give it a name. Write it down. Tell him.
Engaging our mind - we so often forget how powerful our thoughts are. We want to not be so fearful, and yet we fill our minds with thoughts of "what if" and "but, I know someone". We do not always guard our minds against the chaos of the world, and really realize what all the words and input are doing to our spirit.
We have to note to ourselves what our own minds are doing to our hearts. We need to evaluate what thoughts are feeding the fear, worry and anxiety; what thoughts are chasing us into the need for refuge, and which ones are we trying to beat back while we try to rest in that place of safety.
We have to know we are having those thoughts, so we can shut them off. We need to take those thoughts captive, and change them.
We need to listen to our own inner voices, and shut ourselves up when we are repeating lies, or causing more chaos by allowing repetition of things that only harm, and do not help our spirits rest.
Engaging our bodies - Finally, we need to get our bodies in the game. We have lots of clues in scripture on how to do this. First, be still. Stop moving.
In your effort to experience refuge under God's wing, let your body and mind just be still. Take the time to pause, to note your surroundings, to note your thoughts, to acknowledge your heart. Stop moving and just rest for a moment.
And, breathe. Take a deep breath. When you breathe in, let your mind focus on "refuge". When you breathe out, let your heart let go of that reason you were seeking refuge.
In refuge, and out fear.
In refuge, and out anxiety.
In refuge, and out thoughts of your being less.
I hope you take the time to do that - under his wings is a really blessed place to be.
Do you have other ways that you engage your whole self into God's promises? Do share!