Writing in fellowship with the Five Minute Friday crowd, on the word prompt, “Safe“…
I couldn’t get to sleep last night. My heart beat fast. The thoughts wound round and round and round inside my head, my breaths came quick, quick, quick.
Safe. If only I could feel safe.
I sat and tried to slow. I drew breath in, then exhaled deep, I counted slowly as I breathed. I searched for calming music, fastened it to my ears, my head. I closed my eyes, tried to picture lapping waves, a muted sunset on a shore, a grassy meadow, blades of green like hula skirts dancing in the breeze.
My shoulder muscles still felt tight, but it was better, just a bit.
Safe. That’s the thing. If only I could just feel safe. I could handle the rest of it.
The music wasn’t really working like I’d hoped.
I turned it off, sat still, and closed my eyes again.
I prayed. Psalm 4. Earnestly. “Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness. You have relieved me in my distress. Have mercy on me and hear my prayer…”
I turned to Psalm 91, my Bible near me on the table by my side. “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge, and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust…”
The words were going into my head, but my heart still pumped a faster pace than bedtime peace, those muscles still were taut.
Then it came to me–the suggested reading I’d been revisiting from last month’s retreat: John 14-17, specifically…
Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God. Believe also in me…” (John 14:1).
I sat back in my chair. “Oh, Lord!” I sighed, remembering times before when, like a child with a bundle in her hands, outstretched them out to give the burden up to a Daddy who could carry it, long and far and weightless to Him, and how He gave relief, release, back then…
I did that now, all those worries bundled up, I lifted up.
“Please take it, Lord.”
I did it once. I did it twice, and maybe thrice, and then at last, the burden left. I knew it lay in able hands. And now I thought that I might even manage to “both lay me down in peace and sleep, for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety” (Ps 4:8). [And I did.]
Sometimes it’s a struggle; my stubborn will just won’t let go. But struggling and calling Him to enable me and take the fret, eventually it comes: release and peace.
And how do I feel now? “Like a weaned child with his mother. Like a weaned child is my soul within me” (Ps 131:2), resting settled under the shadow of His wings (Ps 36:7; 91:4).