All I Needed to Do

I drove last week to a meeting with someone I hadn’t seen in a while—someone known for reacting unpredictably. There were reasons the meeting could be tense, even volatile; or, it could go smoothly. I had no way of knowing how the interaction would unfold, nor could I control it.The night before the meeting, I lay awake in bed and stared into the deep midnight-silence imagining worst-case scenarios and concocting a mental flow-chart of potential responses to those scenarios. By the time I awoke from what shallow rest I’d managed to secure in-between these restless planning sessions, I looked ragged and worn, like someone who stood outside a bar nervously dragging on a cigarette all night.In the shower that morning, I remembered a verse I’d read a few days before, a verse that tries to adhere to my mind like press-on letters every time I encounter it. The morning I read it, I repeated it throughout the day, mentally tracing its words—its truths. I needed to cling to the words as they tried to cling to me.But by the time I was gearing up for that dreaded meeting, I’d let the verse slip away. As it slipped away, so did its message, and I ended up wide awake on that troubled night when I welcomed worry instead of rest.So after my shower, after breakfast, after loading the car, I drove to the meeting retracing the truth in my head and my heart, silently repeating it, owning it.As it turned out, the meeting went about as well as it could have possibly gone.Interactions were calm, uneventful.Most of the time, I sat silent while the other talked. I listened, nodding, smiling serenely.I needed only to be still.When the meeting was over, I drove home, humbled.

Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:13-14, just before the parting of the Red Sea, as the Egyptians were bearing down on them)

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Photo by Ann Kroeker, edited using (Update 2/17/12: this photo image is replacing artwork that accompanied the post when it was first published; I couldn’t locate the original or the artist to credit, so I pulled it down.)Writing in community at the following:

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  • Comments

    1. Oh, Ann. The number of nights that I have spent rehearsing conversations, well, I can’t even count. Part of it is my introverted-ness coming out, but a lot of it has to do with my lack of trust and my need to over-plan.

      I’m so glad your meeting went well.

    2. That’s your art, isn’t it?

      As to your story, I relate. Perhaps that’s why I like you.

    3. Oh, how this is food for the soul today. I have so many battles raging at once. Thank you!

    4. What a great example of applying His Word to our situations. Thank you

    5. and tomorrow always
      has enough
      worry for

      easy to say
      hard to live


    6. Boy did I need this today, my friend. Praying it now, like breathing.

    7. Smiling and listening, such reward. Me I would have been talking and missing it all! You are a precious jewel.

    8. Oh, how I love this verse. And oh, how I love this story and its telling. Thank you, Ann.

    9. I’m so guilty of trying to help God along in the fight, as if my increasing worry and anxiety were in some way helpful! So glad that all He calls us to is stillness. Praying for you that you can rest and be still this week.

    10. I’m sitting her letting all of this story and the images this good telling evokes run around and around in my head and at the end I just wanted to jump up and give a big ol’ hallelujah. I’m so glad it went well. This kind of worry is familiar to me. And I love that word-art. You need to make it a printable, Ann. I would love to have this in a frame. Glory.

    11. The late-night worrying is so familiar to me, too, Ann – so familiar. I love that verse. It’s resonated with me in the past – I’m so very glad you’ve reminded me of it today.

    12. So familiar–the cycle of worry/praying/imagining/rehearsing/re-living in the black of night while all sleeps;When what I need to do is be still as He tells me to and leave it in His Hands.

    13. Oh yes! this is a great truth! The LORD WILL FIGHT FOR ME! Too often I let my mouth and mind get in the way of what God would do…thank you for this! visiting from Hear it on Sunday..

    14. Hi Ann. I found your blog through Michelle’s Hear It Use It community. I re-read the story of the Exodus for a morning devotional a couple of weeks ago and am amazed at how I quickly I moved through this verse. I remember thinking about “Do not be afraid” and the number of times we hear God say this in the Bible but this message …. Thanks for reminding me to be still too.

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