Throw Down your Oars and Surrender

Cedar River-Renton WA, outside my daughter’s first apartment

I’ve been a little preoccupied (okay, a LOT preoccupied) with finding a new teaching position for next year.

I’ve felt a stirring to do so, confident (mostly) it’s the right thing to do, but now I’m in the hard part–trusting God to help me.

I’d much rather spend all my free time on Craigslist looking at the Jobs/Education section or perusing the surrounding school districts for possible positions. You know, DO something.

I worry……
What if I miss something?
What if I don’t respond to this ad in time?
I need to re-do my cover letters and resumes like n o w…..everything just feels super urgent and pressing.

When can I call and connect with so and so?
Maybe I can call on my break at school?
Maybe in the car on the way home?
Well, I’ll send out that email during lunch, that’s a good 20 minutes of free time.

Ack!  All of this “I gotta do” as if.  As if it all depends on me to bring it to pass. It’s just too much.

So what did I do yesterday evening instead of sitting at my laptop, job-surfing and fretting?

Turned off the computer went outside and pulled weeds.

And absolutely nothing changed, really, when the rain came and forced me back inside.
But my perspective had changed.

Laura Barkat writes about this need to just stop in Chapter Eight–‘Cycle:Sabbath’ of her book God in the Yard.

She writes about God’s plan, well, His command, really for the Hebrew people to build into their weeks a day where they rest. (Exodus 16:23) Cease completely from their own labors. Plan ahead and welcome the winding down.

Just stop already.

As much as I’d like to spin my wheels and rely on my own efforts I am learning there is always a choice to cease this spinning and paddling and worrying and see life up close.


Barkat writes about the ‘undeniable mathematics and unexpected equation’ that appear when we make this choice.

 “…this is how Sabbath works.  One day out of seven, or 1=6 is an unexpected equation, but it seems to work miracles in our lives.  Just why do we shun giving up one day? Are we in need of claiming all the accomplishments for ourselves, when Sabbath suggests they might come from God and open space as well?  Sabbath relieves us of our illusion and burden that we are the center of all our accomplishments.” (p. 79).

Here’s my ‘Sabbath on the Page in my journal from that day:
The world will continue greening, growing and filling with noise and motion.

The seasons will ebb and flow and in the flowing we have to pause 
and watch the water go by rather than ride the waves and rapids, 
paddles fiercely held aloft, slicing the water so furiously 
we slide through the silky surfaces and completely miss the joy in resting, 
sitting on the banks with quiet hearts, 
slowing hands and seeing eyes that bring the grace and power 
we need to survive the waters tomorrow, when it’s safe to jump in once again.


Sabbath isn’t just a day but a frame of mind that says,
‘rest in the Lord and his ability to do what needs to be done.’
It’ll be a busy Memorial Day weekend for me,
visiting my son and family and 5 grands,
but in my heart I’m throwing down my oars and making a conscious choice to rest in God.
How about you?

9 thoughts on “Throw Down your Oars and Surrender

  1. Isn't it something how the Lord will just let us be crazy with that that is making us crazy until we go outside and pull some weeds where He can then take over. When we think we have given up and take our hands off then He begins to pursue.

    Come to Olympia, I'll bet there is a teaching job here! (smile)

  2. Nancy says what I was thinking better than I could. That part about the illusion and burden… SO wise. Just today I was reading in Philippians 2 that “…it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”
    I love your words, my friend!

  3. Nancy, you are such an encouragement. The hard part about writing this???
    Now I have to continue to rest in the Lord and let Him help me live it……..

  4. Dear Jodi
    A.W. Tozer wrote in his book, In Pursuit of God, that all we hand over to God is safe in His hands. But everything we cling onto will never be safe! This has helped me to let go of so much striving. Hope it helps a bit.
    Blessings from Laura's at FFF

  5. Yes to: “What if I miss something?” After all, we're told to leave no rock unturned, right? Trouble is, there are too many rocks!

    Yes again to Laura Barkat's words: “Sabbath relieves us of the illusion and burden that we are the center of all our accomplishments.” Wow. That one hit me between the eyes. Am I “resting in my God and his ability to do what needs to be done?” Not always. (Forgive me, Father.)

    Thank you, Jody, for a very thought-provoking post!

  6. Such good thoughts – thanks so much. I may need to check into reading the book you referred to. Always desiring to learn more on rest, on listening to God, waiting on Him. (Linking up after you at Faith Filled Friday)

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