Lingering: Step by Step, Day by Day


My God-given word this year—linger—does not come easily.I have so much to do. Much of it of my own making, by my own choice. Certainly some of it is required, expected—it’s my job. And then there are the needs, the people, the conflicts that come unexpected and unbidden, but needing attention.

My lingering journey has barely begun. I'm sure it will be step by step and day by day. I believe I have many steps and days, perhaps years, ahead of me. But it has begun.

I am not doing everything I think I need to do. I am closing my computer earlier, more often. I’m reading more—books. I’m lingering over dinner with my husband, over lunch with a friend, at the office with a co-worker. I am sitting beside my husband watching a favorite show—without my computer.

And I am lingering with God. In his Word, In my journal. But mostly on prayer walks, step by step.Baby steps. Not always, perhaps not even often. Yet still, I am beginning to linger.So how has this happened? What has triggered these changes, prompted these choices, stimulated my willingness to slow down, my desire to linger? I can think of three possible sparks that have kindled this lingering journey.

I am so tired.

I’m tired of responding to “How are you?” with “I’m tired.”I can explain much of my tiredness: so many things to do, not enough exercise, not enough right food choices, not enough sleep. And perhaps, significantly, so many needs.

I tend to absorb the emotional distress of others too often, and when those concerns multiply, so does my emotional weariness. My life has been filled with wonderful people experiencing loss, medical issues, family conflict, financial struggles, injustice, misunderstandings…I usually linger with these friends, as I want to, but sometimes all the pain and loss accumulates on me and I grow weary.

My husband needed to reduce pace and stress

A year ago my husband had a heart scare. What was expected to be a serious issue was not. We believe God stepped in and brought healing.But his doctor warned him: You must reduce the pace and stress in your life. He has been diligent to do that, especially lingering much with the Lord. His study of John 15 and our need to abide in Christ, and our subsequent conversations on dwelling, depending on, resting in Christ, influenced and motivated me to make that more my way of life. That is, to linger more with Jesus.

My recent reading

I have been reading what God says.

Clearly God is a fan of lingering. Throughout Scripture he encourages, even commands us to rest, to give our burdens to him,

The prophet Isaiah has reminded me often of this:

“Come, all you who are thirsty,

come to the waters;

and you who have no money,

come, buy and eat!

Come, buy wine and milk

without money and without cost.

Why spend money on what is not bread,

and your labor on what does not satisfy?

Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,

and you will delight in the richest of fare.

Give ear and come to me;

listen, that you may live. (Isaiah 55:1-3)

“To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths,

who choose what pleases me

and hold fast to my covenant—

to them I will give within my temple and its walls

a memorial and a name

better than sons and daughters;

I will give them an everlasting name

that will endure forever.

And foreigners who bind themselves to the Lord

to minister to him,

to love the name of the Lord,

and to be his servants,

all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it

and who hold fast to my covenant—

these I will bring to my holy mountain

and give them joy in my house of prayer.

Their burnt offerings and sacrifices

will be accepted on my altar;

for my house will be called

a house of prayer for all nations.” (Isaiah 56:4-7)

Do you not know?

Have you not heard?

The Lord is the everlasting God,

the Creator of the ends of the earth.

He will not grow tired or weary,

and his understanding no one can fathom.

29 He gives strength to the weary

and increases the power of the weak.

30 Even youths grow tired and weary

and young men stumble and fall;

31 but those who hope in the Lord

will renew their strength.They will soar on wings like eagles;

they will run and not grow weary,

they will walk and not be faint.

(Isaiah 40: 28-31)

Several books have encouraged me to linger more:

An Unhurried Life: Following Jesus' Rhythms of Work and Rest by Alan Fadling

Attend: 40 Soul Stretches Toward God by Laura Davis Werezak

Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living by Shauna Niequist

Some things I have written;

As I scanned through my years of blogging, I discovered I had written much about rest. Reading over many of them, I was especially encouraged on my lingering journey by these short articles:

6 Keys to Finding RestWords of My Life—Rest

Three Places of Rest for Me

If you are weary or overburdened, perhaps you will want to join me in lingering more—with God, with your family, your friends, in nature, with your soul. Step by step and day by day.

What about you? How might lingering be helpful to you?

C2017 Judy Douglass