I'm a bath person. I had never really thought this was a defining characteristic until one day when, walking into a Bath and Body Works, the salesclerk stopped me to ask, "Are you a bath person or a shower person?" Surprised and a little nonplussed by the sudden inquiry into my personal bathing preference, I stammered "a bath person." She then directed me toward some of their new products for bathers. I assume that if I had answered differently, she would have pushed the shower gels.
I assume you shower folks are the short, sweet, to the point, Type A kinds of people for the most part. I appreciate that. Not all of us need to linger over our personal hygiene with ritualistic bliss. I, however, love to lie in a very deep tub full of very warm water and soak until I resemble a raisin. I love bath products, soaps, and shampoos that smell of lavender, sandalwood, or rose. I spend so much time in the bathtub at times that when I was pregnant with Eddie I actually got stuck in the tub (it was my ninth month and it was a small apartment tub) and Phillip didn't come looking for me until the water was very nearly freezing.
My bath habit has only gotten worse since having children. It is now my primary and sometimes only place of retreat. I have a Jacuzzi tub in my house and I fire that sucker up and talk to the Lord. Sometimes the moment my husband walks through the door I gleefully announce my intentions and bolt for the bathroom. I have discovered that Jesus has no problem hanging out in the loo.
So last night I was soaking and fretting. I have been stressed out over the past few days (okay, weeks) and my back and shoulders were suffering the consequences. I have this spot right beside my right shoulder blade which is sort of my "anxiety gauge." The higher the anxiety level, the sorer it gets. Lately it has been unbearable, so I know I'm not trusting my Lord. Anxiety is not an inevitable state; it is a direct result of a lack of trust in a loving Savior. It is a symptom of mental and spiritual disobedience.
Anyway, I was sitting there fretting about fretting. Worrying about my worry. Having anxiety about my anxiety. (I'm not the only one out there that is this neurotic, right?) Then suddenly it really dawned on me what I was doing and that I had a choice not to continue doing it. I started singing. I have just discovered a Christian artist named Jenn Johnson. She's all folky and pretty and I love her song "I Love Your Presence." So I started singing it, softly at first, hardly discernible above the sound of the jacuzzi. As I sang though, I started feeling really good so I sang louder and louder until I was belting it out. I highly recommend singing in the bathtub, by the way. Why let the shower people have all the fun?
So I got so encouraged by my little bathroom concert that I just started praying out loud. I started praising God. I started confessing my lack of trust and started speaking the Truth over every single one of my circumstances. I'm telling you, there was a one-woman tent revival going on in there. I expected at any moment to hear a tentative knock from a concerned husband, but I didn't care. Because for the first time in a long time, outside the realm of a big ol' worship service, I had a breakthrough. I saw clearly that I had been sitting in a big stew of my own insecurities instead of soaking in the big tub of God's love. He says we are to abide in Him. Abide. Soak! Breathe and see that He is good, as soothing as lavender, as sweet as the rose.
I know this is a concept I have brought up before in this blog, but I believe it is a vital point: God really does want us all to relax. We aren't supposed to worry and we do not have to. We can abide in the vine. He is the vine; we are the branches. The last time I checked, branches did not do a whole lot in their own power. They don't control if they are going to get nutrition from the earth, sunlight or rain from the sky, or if they are going to bear fruit. They just hang out... literally. If we would just look to Him, really look to Him, He promises to provide everything we need.
The Christian public image is not relaxed. Christians in general have been painted with a really broad brush, lumping all of us in with outspoken, conservative political pundits and television evangelists. These folks, by and large, do not exude a spirit of inner peace. I do not want to get political in this blog, but let's just say if I were in charge (which thank God I'm not), there would be a lot more drum circles and bonfires associated with Christianity than currently enter the picture. We would be singing "Kumbaya" a little more often and "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" a little less. Not that I don't love my country; I really, really do. I'm just saying to those non-believers (or not-sure-what-I-believers) out there that Christ followers are all over the place. Some of us sing in our bathtubs, go barefoot a lot and might even belong to a party that starts with a "D" and ends with an "at."
And our Savior, your Savior, does not belong to any political party. He doesn't hate any of His children and He invites you to come into his presence anytime and soak in His peace. He is not about consumerism and economic prosperity; He is about love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, kindness, faith, and hope. He is the most awesome hippie I have ever met and I love His presence, whether it be in my church, in my heart or in my bathroom. If you already know Him, I encourage you to spend some real time with Him tonight, just breathing and abiding. If you don't, I can't wait for you to meet Him. I pray blessings and peace for everyone single person who reads this. Now, if you'll excuse me... it's time for my bath.