Shabbat Shalom: The Stay ©Dawn Minott | with audio

Living this thing called life is interspersed with periods of “stay”.

In this post I’d like to share my reflection on being in a period of stay—when everything that all my senses encounter shouts: “leave”, “run”, “cower”, BUT that still small voice keeps insisting on “stay”.

There is stay that is relevant to one’s positioning in relation to others or a situation. This stay may be to remain in the same place. Or it may be to wait, to pause, to stop or to hang around.

There is stay that pertains to the inability to remain hidden. That is a mode of stay that is premised on continuing to be—to persist, to carry on, to go on being. In essence this stay is to be at rest in your being or in the situation.

There is also stay that is about being accommodated such as to stop over or to visit with the knowledge that it’s but a sojourn—it’s a temporary stay.

And then there is stay in nautical terms.

I recently sailed on a dhow (see photo above). In watching the sailors raise the sail, I wanted to better understand what was entailed. As they explained the support that stays provide to the fully-deployed sail, I had an aha moment:

Doing life in many ways is like a sailing boat and it’s dependency on the stay.

Stay in nautical terms is about directing the movement of a boat’s mast in relation to the direction of the wind.

Stay in the midst of living life, is also about directing the movement of one’s life in relation to the direction of the issues at hand which is often a tumultuous place to be.

We go through questioning, wonderings, and doubts. There’s the interplay of what-ifs and uncertainty that fuels this fear of making the wrong decisions.

It is in these moments of chaotic noise that we must listen differently.

In noisiness, if someone wishes to speak directly to you, she/he will likely whisper as oppose to shouting above the noise.

Whispering is a different way of communicating for both the speaker and the listener. The speaker must soften her/his voice, using as it were their inside voice. While the listener must silence all else—to quiet the inside noise—and listen intently and intentionally to hear.

Whispering also takes on a different posture. When someone intends to share something intimately with you, they lean into you, moving their mouth close to your ears.

In reflecting on being in this period of stay, and acknowledging that this time is being accompanied by confused noise, what I needed most was to listen differently for the voice of God.

Listening differently is moving my ears closer to the mouth of God.

This of course is all about the posture of my heart. That is, a leaning into God—talking to Him, asking for discernment to hear and to accurately understand what He’s saying, and for a willingness in my heart to follow. That heart posture is one of intimacy and it’s one of surrender.

The need for discernment is to determine the type of stay in order to know if it’s a stay to “stay in” or a “stay to miss”. Do I remain in the same place? Wait, pause, stop or hang around? Am I to be at rest in my being or in this current situation? Or is it that I’m merely in a period of sojourn?

A posture of surrender helps to determine where my stay is mounted. Is my stay in a person or a situation or circumstance?

In the case of boats, stays need a strong mounting point to handle the immense forces they endure.

So do I.

My mounting point in a stay period is God!


Because God is not only in the stay, but most importantly He is of the stay.

God creates blessing opportunities through the moments of stay in our lives.

If we are cognizant to tune into Him, we will hear His “gentle whisper” —what the Bible calls a “still small voice— we will hear it through the din and turmoil into the silence we create.

Not only does God desire that our stay is mounted in Him but that it remains in Him regardless of storms and fires or peace and calm.

In the same way a boat in stay is steered to head directly into and through the boisterous wind in order to bring the vessel on the opposite side of the wind, so must our lives be steered.

One thing that stood out in learning about nautical stays is this — no mater what material a boat’s mast is made from, if it is unstayed it will quickly fail under sail.

For us—on our own—our lives, like mast, cannot withstand the pressures of the storm. But if God is the mainstay of our lives, then we will not collapse under the pressure and uncertainty of life’s stays.

With God as a life Captain, a life in stay will be steered through the moments of turmoil and brought to the opposite side where the noise is silenced and His leading can be heard.

I also learned that stays are mounted to the very front and the rearmost parts of a boat. So is God to be mounted in our lives to stabilize and guide in both the forward and aft directions. And when that is the case, that’s when God puts His mouth up to your ears for the whisper of direction. And whether you turn to the right or to the left:

your ears will hear a word behind you, saying, This is the way, walk in it…

That’s what God promised in Isaiah 30:21!

Because stay periods are an inevitable part of doing life, you may now be in stay, coming out of stay or will be going into stay.

So, the sum of my reflection is this:

  • Like mast without stay will collapse under the stress of a sail that is fully-deployed, so will a life without its mainstay in God in the noisiness and tumult of the stay.
  • Relying on God’s guidance is tantamount to the ability of a boat’s stay to transfer the force of the wind and distribute its power over a wider area and onto materials that can handle it.
  • And rest assured, God can handle the “it” in the periods of our stay.

Welcome the stay.

Listen past the noise. God is speaking. It may be a whisper.

Check you heart posture. Is your heart leaning into God to hear; and, is it willing to follow?

Shabbat Shalom.

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In creative solidarity, Dee

21 thoughts on “Shabbat Shalom: The Stay ©Dawn Minott | with audio

  1. Viv H

    I was so immersed into the words of this poem that I got to the end and did not even realized. It is absolutely breathtaking! Thanks for the inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

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