Q. What were some spiritual practices that helped you Rebound after being stagnate for so long?
This was a question I initially hesitated to answer because it's a process so foreign to us that I feared it would be terribly misunderstood. The jarring answer, is I stepped away from quite times, but let me elaborate. I moved from quiet times, to infusion times.
To infuse is to penetrate, to steep or soak, as to extract the properties or ingredients of something (in this case of someone). For decades I had been having wonderful, life changing quite times that have changed my heart, my mind and my actions. Times that I wouldn't trade for the world. They have brought me into clarity and understanding of God in a way I'd never known, giving me a solid foundation to stand on, but what happens when the earth under your feet begins to shift like a massive earthquake? You have to stand secure in the footing. Structurally, the footing is what supports the foundation. I found I needed more than intellectual understanding or even emotional connection. I needed complete grafting into the holiness of the Father.
Rom. 11: 23 And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.
Covid 19 has altered the teaching technique of any teacher worth their weight. You may be teaching in the same school, same grade level, same subject, and even same students, but the unforeseen devastation of 2020 shifted kids ability to receive what was being taught. They lost their footing. So you either continue to feed them as you have before, even if they are not comprehending, or you find a new way to pour into them.
Likewise, a series of hard knocks sat me on the sidelines of my own life and to get back up I had to do things differently in order to achieve a different outcome. To Shabat (or the practice of being still before God) became my new way of preparing my spirit to receive. Resting in God. Not simply the pause that refreshes, but the pause that transforms.
I relate it to the difference between steeping and brewing tea.
Steeping and brewing tea are the key parts of the same process - making tea. Brewing is the actual act of making tea. You gather your tea bag, hot water, spoon, and cup. Our quiet times, simply put, are the act of making time for God. On the other hand, steeping tea is the same process with the main purpose being to infuse the water with tea bags or loose tea leaves, in other words, to soak it up. It's the sitting at the feet of Jesus that we so often reference and seldom actually do. It's being in his presence and extracting the essence of who he is. The soaking of oneself in God.
If you closely observe young singers interacting on stage with older more seasoned performers it will highlight the brewing, steeping concept nicely. Some will come to the stage with all of their vocal tricks in an effort to prove themselves, outshine their senior and wow the audience. Unfortunately, what it creates is a competition between the voices. You have all the ingredients: great voices, microphones, talent, but unless they fuse into one, the end result, like tea, is weak and seldom the favor or experience desired.
On the other hand, a confident more humble young singer, realizes that they are there to soak up whatever their sage counterpart brings to the stage. They're there not to be the star, but to learn from the star. I once watched Jennifer Hudson, truly a powerhouse singer, be invited on stage with Diana Ross to sing her classic hit, 'Reach Out and Touch Somebody's Hand,' and for a brief moment I felt concern for Diana. Jennifer, after all has a much stronger voice and she's known for her vocal gymnastics. Diana's style, on the other hand, is soft and almost spoken. However, Ms. Hudson was wise enough and humble enough to step into the student position and allowed herself to soak up the essence of who the legendary Ms. Ross truly was. She watched in respect and admiration, as the teacher captivated the audience with her mere being, without breaking a sweat. It was beautiful to behold.
What does all of this have to do with the Rebound process? I very intentionally, stepped back into the student role (where I should have been all along) and sat quietly at the feet of Jesus. Not presenting what I had done or could do in his kingdom (I didn't come to Him as a leader), nor what I desired (nor a position of want), but begin my days dwelling in the presence of His Holiness. Literally beginning each morning with, "Lord, what do you want to show me today?" It became my 'date with God,' my time to connect with Him in a very deep and personal way. It isn't study time or even prayer time, but God and I time. Time to reconnect with the man I feel in love with so many years ago. It's the art of meditation. Stilling myself and my thoughts to feel the gentlest of breeze or hear the quietest whisper.
We see in Exodus 33: 22, that there is a cleft in the rock where God can hide you, "When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by." It is specially reserved for those who desire to see God’s glory. That is our hiding place - Ps. 32:7, "You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance." And though it is not possible for us to see God face to face, as with Moses, He makes provisions for his servants to see some glimpses of His glory.
Here is where He reminds me of his omnipresence, that He is ever present, so I never need to worry or fear being alone. No matter what the enemy may whisper in my ear as I walk through my darkest days. His omnipotence, revealing His power over anything or anyone I have encountered or may encounter in my future. And His omniscience all-knowing. God is aware of the past, present, and future that we have or will encounter on our rebound journey. Nothing takes him by surprise. His knowledge is total.
There are a number of basic tenets of the Christian faith that will help you regain your spiritual legs, bible study, prayer, confession, etc., but none as important as aligning yourself with God by sitting in his presence. It reminds us that we are clay in the hands of not just a potter, but the potter. and that everything we've endured is in his incredible hand and has purpose and meaning.
Jeremiah 18:1-6, Jeremiah received the LORD's word: Go down to the potter's house, and I'll give you instructions about what to do there. So I went down to the potter's house; he was working on the potter's wheel. But the piece he was making was flawed while still in his hands, so the potter started on another, as seemed best to him. Then the LORD's word came to me: House of Israel, can't I deal with you like this potter, declares the LORD? Like clay in the potter's hand, so are you in mine, house of Israel!
I now beginning each morning going to the potter's house and I wait for His instructions. No longer a spectator in what He is working on in my life by concerning myself with things too lofty for me to attain (Ps. 139: 6). I go to Him as the flawed clay to be molded as seems best to Him.
Find your cleft in the rock. It is your infusion time. Your time for your footing to become grafted in by standing in God's glory.
The cleft in the rock is a sacred place for every Christian.
But it has to become our primary place of residence, not our vacation spot.