Lying Down . . .


I’m not a huge fan of the Academy Awards, not because I have anything against honoring quality art via the silver screen but mostly because of the seemingly endless parade of the self-impressed. Couple this with the fact that I haven’t seen ninety-nine percent of the movies up for awards, and well, let’s just say my interest peeks with the red carpet and its dazzling display of gowns.

I am, however, a fan of good words spoken at the right time. Certainly, movies are filled with many such moments, but when those moments happen off stage (when the actor removes the mask and throws the script to the sidelines in favor of real-life drama), I’m duly impressed by the dialogue. Such was the case with Daniel Day-Lewis following his 3rd Oscar win for his portrayal of Abraham Lincoln. Backstage after his win, Daniel was asked regarding his plans for the future, about what character he might like to play next. His response immediately gripped my heart:

“I need to lie down for a couple of years. It’s really hard to imagine doing anything after this.” (see source)

He’s going to lie down. Take a lengthy sabbatical with his family on his fifty acre farm south of Dublin, Ireland. Work on other things, like perfecting his cobbling (shoe-making) abilities or learning the rural skill of stonemasonry. Just “happily working away at other things.” (see source) Daniel Day-Lewis is going to lie down for a season, away from the stage and the bright lights of the big city.

What a wise choice.

I am challenged to follow his lead. Bright lights and big stages serve their purposes, but once the curtain goes down and the camera crew heads home, it’s time for a breather. Time to fuel up, rest up alongside the still waters where the only stage beneath my feet is carpeted with green pastures and the only light framing my steps radiates from the candle of the Shepherd.

My lengthy sabbatical with God to happily work away at other things.

Those things? Well, I don’t imagine it’s important to discuss them here. What is important is knowing that those things exist and that only by my lying down for a season will I be able to most happily, most agreeably engage with them. The good that grows in the pasture is not easily grown on the stage. Bright lights and big audiences—too much shine and too much recognition—dim the eyes and dull the senses, kind of like a blundering sheep in need of a wise Shepherd.

Life is changing for me . . . again. I must travel with the shifting wind, not against it. To fight my lying down is to relinquish the merry pleasures of rest. To linger on the stage after the curtain is drawn and the audience has departed is to stand alone and to feel lonely. But to leave with them? To trade in the stage for God’s greener pastures where dialogue is limited to just the Shepherd and me? Well I don’t suppose I’ve ever felt more enveloped in the fellowship of the Beloved.

I need to lie down for a while, friends. This doesn’t mean I won’t be here from time to time. Every sheep needs a flock, and you are mine. I simply need to give myself permission to happily work away at other things.

Soul things. Intimate things. God things.

Lying beside the still waters and on a blanket of green.

The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.

37 Responses to Lying Down . . .

  1. Elaine…I love your voice on this blog and I feel life I’m sitting next to you as you explain what you need to do. I so understand. We all need a season away to hear what God has in mind for us and to focus on what us already there for us. Blessings.

    • Thank you, Terri. I know you’ve felt this pull before. Thank you for sitting faithfully with me and for always being a large source of encouragement!

  2. Wise woman. I love you and will be praying for you during your time of refreshing & renewing. May the Lord keep you close and overwhelm you with Himself.

  3. No need to explain. No point in resisting. Nothing to fear when it is HE who makes you lie down. You know where we are…the rest of the “flock” who are also seeking to follow the Shepherd.

  4. Well, here you go lying down and taking a green-pasture-sabbatical. Sounds good to me. God has spoken through you so many times, I guess it’s time to refresh and refuel for this next round of “life” He has prepared.

    I LOVE that you’re taking it on your terms. Because when He “MAKES” you lie down, well, that isn’t always as pleasant. You are a gift. You’re a leader of His sheep and a precious friend to me. Praying for you now, Elaine.

    May your lying down be as long as you need and as short as He wills it.

  5. I totally understand what you are saying, Elaine. This is a time of refreshing, restoration, and rejuvenation…it’s a new day and a new season for you and your family!

    Your sabbatical with God will most certainly bring about new revelations from Him. I’m already looking forward to hearing about what He speaks to your heart.

    I love you, sweet friend.

  6. Thanks for the reminder, Elaine. I certainly need it. I’ve realized that it’s time to cut back on some things myself and apply some self-care as well as God-care.

    Thanks for the beautiful words!


  7. I watched the Academy Awards, but I didn’t see that backstage interview with Daniel Day-Lewis. Thanks for sharing what he had to say — so honest and wise. I pray that your “lying down” will be blessed and guided by God. Rich, rich blessings to you, Elaine. I appreciate you!!

  8. Dear friend,

    In the middle of this night or early morning as it be, I read your words with an agreeable nod of understanding. Well said. Be blessed in your season of lying down in the soul rest of God and doing other things as He leads.

    Love you sister.

  9. God is in the lying down, as well as the journeying forward. May you sense His very presence as you obey. He has something magnificent for you!

  10. Elaine, the call, confession and contentment of this post speaks so deeply to me. It has been God’s Word to me recently as well. The “lying down” for me involves extended quiet time with Him, but it really isn’t a time of slumber is it. As you say, it’s attention to other things. Kingdom things. Everlasting things. Eternal things. It has also involved some laying down…surrendering…releasing, so that He can fill me alone.

    I’m going to be sharing this post with friends. Thank you for the blessing and encouragement you always are to me. May the Lord fill your “lying down” as you rest in Him who gives strength, direction and delight for the other things.

    Love you, and praying,

    • Rest is, indeed, active! There’s nothing slothful about intentional rest. It is, perhaps, the most active participation with have the Holy Spirit. And you, sweet one, are always dispensing the King’s strength in my direction. Thank you for standing in your faith, especially in the hard times. Really, aren’t they all hard times?

  11. Elaine,
    I love reading the words that God places in your heart. I never leave here without taking something with me. I hope that’s alright ? 🙂 “Lying Down”…I think I’ll take that with me.
    Love you,

    • Take, take, take, Tammy! This is why I’m here; otherwise, I’d just keep a journal and quit fussing with it. I’m blessed to know that anything I’ve written here might stir someone toward the heart of the Father!

  12. wifeforthejourney:

    Leave it to you to find a meaningful “take away” from the Oscars! “Lying Down” is not something that comes naturally to most of us. In fact, most of us have grown up hearing how the rewards in life are for those who work the hardest. Constant motion is the order of the day. Recently, I recall my gut-reaction to another pastor I know who has started a two-month sabatical….my first thought was to think, uh oh, he must have done something wrong/having some major crisis. In truth, even if he has some personal problem, if he’s able to deal with it through more deliberate time with the Lord and LESS ministry-life-on-the-treadmill I should say “good for him!”

    Taking time for reflection, prayer and seeking God is probably harder that just going along with the momentum of our busy lives. Thanks for the good word this morning and the 23rd Psalm imagery!



    • I hear you, Cindy! Let’s stay connected.
      On another note, did you receive my note about bird cards? I’ll message you again.

  13. May this be a time of restoration and reflection and renewal for you – and may you become all the richer for resting!

    I took some time away from my blog and I worried that when I indeed did return no one would read it anymore. But that isn’t the case, God brings those who will be encouraged and blessed by my words. May the same be for you, Elaine.

    You have a “word” gift and I look forward to your return!


  14. I find it interesting that while you’ve seen the need to lie down, I’ve seen the need to ‘climb a mountain’. Somehow, I don’t think the two are as different as they may sound.

  15. If anyone understands this, I do. Taking time to get back to the business of living or taking time to see what else fuels our hearts and might open a new chapter is necessary and scary. In a way, it’s like taking inventory. I think many people avoid lying down because they’re afraid of what they’ll discover, or, scariest of all, they won’t find anything else, but it’s there. It’s there. You’ll find it. Just don’t pressure yourself, or define “it” before you find it.


  16. I totally get DDL’s sentiment. I’ve been employing a similar lying down in my own life (when I do wriggle to get away from it). Talk about refreshing!

    Oftentime the godly thing to do is also the smart thing to do. We need more encouragement along these lines.

    Off to lie down some more 🙂


  17. This is a special time for you. I too, think ‘lying down’ can look diferent for each of us. I know that god has been building in you and Billy, and the lying down is going to make the getting up and going more clear. Once again, I quote my dad… God ‘unfolds’ His plans for us. Blessings to you during this time of new unfoldings.

    Love you!

    • Yes, it does look differently for each of us; too often, I’m swayed by what others are doing in terms of “lying down”, and I need to pay attention to the personal, God-signals in my life that lead me to make good choices. I’m not sure what this will look like for me in the days to come; I just know that I needed to give myself permission to pull away to the quiet. Less noise; less obligation to pay attention to the noise.

  18. This was beautifully said, Elaine. I’ve been in a season of lessened activity after my move up the mountain to my new home. And mostly, I’ve fought tooth-and-nail against it. I am (slowly) learning that God has mighty lessons to teach me in moments of solitude and silence. The key is to be willing to *lie down* and listen to His Voice.

    May you enjoy your *time apart* – and may you enjoy doing all those other things.

    (Jeremiah 6:16) “Thus says the LORD: ‘Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.'”


  19. What courage. 🙂 It is so hard to step aside for a season. I know He will bless you for remembering even HE had to rest on the seventh day. May seventh day, no matter how short or long, be everything you need and more.

  20. Lincoln is one of the best movies I have ever seen. And to think that it’s not fiction but a true story makes it even better. I loved the way he poured himself to the job of being president. And Daniel Day Lewis did an awesome job portraying him… Lewis also poured himself into it… No wonder he needs to lie down … (good for him that he has a beautiful place where he can do it). But yes, I hear you loud and clear. We all need to lie down, have a sense of nothing hanging above our heads but to recover, to be restored… to be renewed.

  21. Elaine, sometimes it’s good to take a sabbatical. I only wish I could do that too. 🙂 But in the meantime, I guess I just try to find the blessings in the midst of trying times. As you know I love the children at our school. This isn’t something I would have chosen to be doing at this point in my life but I have to smile. The Lord knew my heart’s desire to have children and it wasn’t able to happen. But He gave me this time to love other people’s children and to influence them. I can’t tell you how many forget and call me mom. They get embarrassed and quickly add “I mean Miss Debbie” but I have to say I love it. And I thank the Lord that He provided for me in this way.

    However, I would love to take time off. Maybe stay in a mountain retreat and have time to spend with the Lord and His Word. What a joy that would be. But I do have this week off for spring break. I am trying to spend much time finishing my book. I admire how you’ve written two of them. I’m having enough trouble doing my one so far.

    Enjoy this time Elaine!

    Blessings and love,

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