A dear friend and I recently had one of those rare times of catching up. Our life stories go far back so catching up is really picking up where we left off. It’s good. It’s rich.
Kathy is a communications professional, and she shared the high points of an interview she had recently conducted. The rich lingering flavor of wisdom surrounding this interview had left its mark, and my friend had much to ponder. The subject of the interview was Robbye Jarrell, the inspiring chaplain of the Atlanta based continuing care retirement community called Lenbrook. Robbye has this multifaceted job that pulls her attention and energy in many directions.
Intentionality is critical to her job and to the quality of her own life.
Robbye, is the chaplain of a community of 500 elderly residents, and 250 associates. This community is comprised of many faith practices. Robbye is a facilitator of weekly church services as well as a master planner of a variety of faith observances such as: Shabbat, Ash Wednesday, Easter, Christmas, and Hanukkah.
She is both counselor and coach who assists seniors as they negotiate their way through the critically complex issues of aging. She is deeply loved by everyone, and her colleagues describe her as one with unending energy and compassion.
When asked how she performs these tasks with a never-ending reservoir of compassion and energy, Robbye says her secret is taking time to rest at the river bank. She adopted this practice from the Native Americans.
As the story goes, when Native Americans would travel they would always rest for two or three days at a river bank before crossing the water. They knew the value of resting before starting to venture into new territory. If asked what they were doing, the Native Americans would simply explain, “We are letting our souls catch up with our bodies,” Robbye explained.
Robbye sets aside quiet time each morning where she “listens and lingers” with God by the river bank. “When all I hear is spiritual static, I know it’s time to sit on the river bank,” Robbye added.
Sisters, we could all learn from the wisdom of Robbye and the Native Americans. It is always wise to listen and linger when God is redefining our lives—our purposes by bringing us into uncharted territory. These are the times to, “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and find rest for your souls” (Jeremiah 6:16).
In reality, God is always wooing us to sit daily by the river bank with Him. He is gently beckoning us to listen and linger. It is here that He reaffirms His love for us, refreshes us, restores us, and helps clarify the direction of our lives. This allows us to pursue a meaningful life—one that can be lived on purpose.
God knows and understands the intricate details of our lives. He speaks to us in our own unique heart language, which infuses life and direction into those convoluted places that have derailed us from living life on purpose.
Today, take a few minutes of stillness at God’s river bank. Listen and linger to His words of affirmation, love, and direction. Ask yourself the following question and let our loquacious God speak to you. He has much to say…
What drains me?
What makes me feel alive with God’s purpose?
What issues do I hold close to my heart?
What do I value most in my closest relationships?
Have I surrendered to and embraced God’s purposes for my life?