My word of the year, embark, got turned on its head again this week. I was on retreat with a (beautiful) group of contemplative women when I sensed an invitation:
Wait. Watch. Welcome.Steady yourself, dear Jenny, and stand.
I’m not too keen on this invitation?. To me, ’embark’ is an active word. A get-going word. Not in the least bit a stay-still-and-stand-there word. What’s up with this?
Turns out when I received my word back in December, Spirit didn’t specify that I was the one to do the embarking (details, details). What if something/someone is embarking to me? What then? Not once have I considered this a possibility — until now.
I don’t naturally stand still well. In fact, it’s quite uncomfortable for me. I much prefer making things happen or moving them along, exerting some kind of control.
Wait: Stand still. Don’t ask, seek, or knock.
Watch: Observe more than manipulate. Allow more than interfere (this one hits me where it hurts!).
Welcome: Open posture, not judging, making room for and receiving what/whomever is coming my way. So very much unknowing.
This feels vulnerable. I don’t know what’s coming and I don’t know when or how. I am not the least bit in control. Is this really biblical??
I say with a tinge of regret, yes, yes it is. There are plenty of Scriptures that tell us to stand still and watch. To refrain from acting. And then there’s the parable God brought to mind: the parable of the prodigal son.
This parable is one of three. In each of them something is lost: a sheep, a coin, a son (Luke 15).
In the first parable, we’re told the shepherd “goes after” the lost sheep, not stopping until he finds it.
In the second, a woman scours her house, searching with due diligence until she finds the missing coin.
So far, so good. I’m relating!
However, in the third one, the father of the lost son did not act. He didn’t go after his son to bring him to his senses or to bring him home. He didn’t chase after him or take matters into his own hands. This father did three things: he waited, he watched, and when the son came home, he welcomed.
The father did eventually run, but he didn’t run after his son, he ran toward him. He ran in welcome.
Sometimes God is like this. And sometimes (like now, at least for me) God invites us to be like this, too. Maybe He knows there are some things (and people) we simply must allow to come to us.
- That which is lost.
- That for which we long.
- That for which we never even knew to look.
Wait. Watch. Welcome: Our Little Life Words of the week.
- Are you more comfortable asking/seeking/knocking, or waiting/watching/welcoming? Why?
- Compare/contrast the 3 parables (Luke 15). How does it feel to be the father vs. the shepherd or the woman? How does it feel to be the son vs. the lost coin or sheep?
- What’s the difference between running after and running toward?
- Who has waited, watched for, and welcomed you?
- Actively look for an opportunity this week to allow something/one to come to you instead of you chasing after it/them.
- Our song of the week is: Be Still My Soul by Eclipse 6.
- “I will watch and wait for you, God” (Psalm 130:6 PT).