I’ve been slightly obsessed with the word selah for a few years now. It really came to my attention at a Hillsong conference & I can’t even remember why now but it was something one of the pastors flagged up at the time & I couldn’t get it out of my head.
We don’t truly know the meaning of the word, but the description I favour most is one that suggests a pause or rest, a break in proceedings. Probably a musical term or an indication to musicians, it features throughout the Psalms and one can imagine perhaps a stop to take a breath before continuing. I’ve written about it before but as I write now I’m languishing on a rather luxurious sofa with the dramatic sound of crashing waves, falling just feet away ringing in my ears. A gentle breeze is blowing overhead meaning that the heat of the sun is delicious, rather than overbearing. This holiday has been a long time coming, waiting as we have for months for my back to be healed sufficiently. I’m not sure we’ve needed a holiday more than this one (As a family that is, I spent months resting of course!).
But as I lie here that word selah is running through my mind again. Pausing. Taking a breath. It’s not often that I get to do that. God has been speaking to me more and more about rest and I’ve written about it before, but even as I try to work that into my day, my week, there is something so necessary about a complete and utter rest. I don’t need to cook, or to clean, or to think about deadlines, or plan who has to be where and when. We have no agenda, and in fact already our tentative and gentle plans have given way to a rather slothful existence!
Like many I’m sure, I cannot competely rest at home. There is always the distraction of housework or plans, the ‘to do lists’ on the fridge, the school run looming. Yet here none of it matters. The rest is more complete. The headspace is cleared and the mind has time to wander. I was going to nap for a hour as the kids are out but instead I find I’m unable to and I’m just lying here listening to the waves. Just lying here. It seems so decadent and yet all I’m doing is allowing myself space to breathe. An hour to lie down and do nothing, except of course as my mind has space, the imagination is free and I find my brain thinking on things long-shelved. And hence I end up writing…!
But I think that is part of it, having time to think. So many things get shelved and we never come back to them. It’s so important to take time to just be, with no agenda. I’ve felt so creative this hol because I’ve not planned to do anything and so when taking a wander, or lying in the sun, those shelved things have come back to me and I’ve taken time to think them through.
I wonder what God was doing before he created? We know he rested after but did he rest before too? Were there millenniums of God just being, letting his mind come up with crazy ideas, wonderful designs, amazing creations before he actually did it? Of course we can’t know but I feel sure that some of the best idea in history have come from a a place of rest.
I am reminding myself as I listen to these waves, of that rhythm of work and then rest. reminding myself once again that I must take this with me, to make time in my day and my week to get that complete rest and alloy myself space to think and to breathe and to be…