After a particularly hard week this summer, I received a package in the mail from Amazon. Usually I know what we’ve ordered from Amazon, and we weren’t expecting anything. I opened it to find a pack of face masks (not the kind we are used to wearing now, think spa face masks) that my Mom had sent me.
I texted her and told her they had arrived and she said, “I want you to close your eyes and reflect on God’s goodness and faithfulness in the midst of suffering… and soak in His love.”
Leave it to my Mother to turn using a face mask into the most beautiful spiritual discipline.
She said it made her think of 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 that says, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
Our faces should reflect the glory of God. Spending time with Him leads to us looking more like Him. We all know that we start to look and act like the people we spend the most time with, it is just as true with God.
So I began a new spiritual practice I like to call “soaking.” Once a week I put on my face mask, I set a timer on my phone for 15-20 minutes and then put my phone far enough away from me that I cannot be distracted by it. I lay down and spend that whole time soaking in God’s goodness.
I have learned a few things. One, it isn’t the same as prayer. I have learned that prayer for me recently looks like a whole lot of asking (begging, really) of the Lord. And if I am honest, there’s also some complaining and whining thrown in. I have learned from this practice how much of my time with Him I spend talking at Him instead of with Him, and how infrequently I actually use that time to praise Him. So in this practice, I spend the whole time on Him. Sometimes I have played worship music to help me begin, to remind me of truths about who He is. I start listing His attributes, and the ways I have seen them in my life.
You are my Provider – I have a job, a home, family, and more.
You are my Comfort – being in Your presence calms my anxiety, gives me peace and hope.
You are Sovereign – nothing is a surprise to You, everything is under Your control.
Spending time “soaking” in who God is leads us to gratitude, every time. Even when I am confused, frustrated, angry, or sad (and I have been all those things recently), recognizing who He is and what He has done for me brings me back to gratitude. It is humbling to say the least.
Two, practicing any kind of stillness is really hard. It is also so necessary. I read a devotional this week that says this:
“Quiet hearts are as rare as radium. We need every day to be led by the Divine Shepherd into the green pastures and beside the still waters. Inner preparation is necessary to outer service. ‘Rest Pauses’ contribute to the finer music of life. ‘He went out into a mountain to pray.’ ‘And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered.’
We have yet to learn the power of silence. Not in the college or academy, but in the silence of the soul, do we learn the greater lessons of life and become rooted in spiritual inwardness.” (Springs in the Valley)
I believe this wholeheartedly and have experienced it so deeply. It is as simple as setting aside fifteen to thirty minutes every morning to be with the Lord. I am experiencing His “new mercies” so clearly right now. In a season where by the end of the day I am entirely wiped out and often discouraged, I wake each morning with a renewed sense of hope and vision — which could only be God-given. If it was up to my own ability, I would wake tired and discouraged and remain that way throughout my days. He has proven Himself so faithful when I have made it a priority to be with Him.
“Soaking” is an awesome way to take a “rest pause” in the week. I want to be more disciplined about taking pauses throughout my days, particularly before big events or conversations. Even in a specific moment, when someone says something frustrating or asks for something I am not sure I can offer, I want to learn to take a “pause” instead of reacting or responding out of my humanity. I hope to train myself to seek God in those moments before speaking hastily, otherwise that is how we hurt each other. I can name multiple times this past week where I spoke too quickly out of hurry or frustration and most likely inflicted pain on another person. I am holding tightly to Proverbs 13:3 where it says, “Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.”
I am loving this practice and I’d encourage you to join in. Order yourself some face masks and soak in God’s goodness and presence. If you are entering into a much busier and crazier season like I am, do not forget to set some plans and intentions for how you will practice caring for yourself and letting God meet you and restore you. It is the little choices we make each day that ultimately decide the content and direction of our lives.
Set aside some time to be in God’s presence. Remember who He is and all that He has done for you. Praise Him, for His sake. Not only does it distract our minds from the worries and stresses of our lives, it reorients us to the glory and power of the One who commands the sun to rise each morning, the One who writes all our days, the One who knows and loves you more than you can even comprehend. He has given us the honor of His time and attention. Let’s soak in that.