A few years ago I decided to get my first tattoo… I believe it was on my 34th birthday. Yes this was quite a bit after the rebellious 20-something stage but it was something I had thought long and hard about and I finally decided to take the plunge.
Leading up to the decision I knew I wanted something that held meaning to me… something that would still speak to me 20 years down the road. I didn’t want something I would regret and surely didn’t want something that was ‘trendy’ and therefore meaningless once the fad had passed. After thinking about it, I decided I also wanted something that was visible… something that served as a reminder but yet was still somewhat secretive, mostly visible only to me. What I decided on was this…
a small tattoo of my favorite Bible verse on my left wrist. Something that holds meaning, is visible (or not…) and something that can spark conversation if desired. See… my tattoo is based on the scripture from Psalm 46:10 which states, “Be Still and Know I am God” The original language of this verse uses the word, “raphah” which in Hebrew literally means to “let go or be weak” or to “slacken off and even to fail.” Basically, we are being commanded “let go… to stop trying to control our own lives” so we can truly know and experience the presence of God. It meant that I didn’t have to have all of the answers and a tidied up life to receive His grace.
I knew this would be a perfect fit for me… something that would be a daily reminder as I struggled with faith/ doubt, busyness and perfectionism… and it was. It was a constant reminder… until it wasn’t and the doubts started to creep in again and in no time, overtook all of the assurance and promise that this verse used to offer.
The words on my wrist peeked out today from underneath my watch and the irony of those words being embedded in my skin hit me. My life is anything but “still”… actually, it is the complete opposite. Somewhere along the way, I have been blinded to my own reality… and in turn have forgotten the things that meant the most to me. I have lost all that drove me to originally choose this verse and a piece of the very essence of who I am has died along the way as well.
As I sat and stared at my computer screen trying to conjure up the strength to type out another paper about student’s acquisition of vocabulary, all I could think about was the multitude of activities taking place during the next week… and how the crushing weight or that reality was consuming me. I knew then that I had to stop. I needed to follow the message that I had chosen to have engraved into my skin. It was as if, with it’s presence once again being noticed by my eyes, brought it to life and it beckoned me to stop and just be still. This time, I listened.