Backwards and forwards, up and then down, the endless cycle of longing for perfection, scratching and clawing to climb to the pinnacle with the ideal of glorifying God… and then He whispers quietly, “Be still.”
I have never thought of myself as hyper-active, I have a sister who was. I never thought of myself as having a disorder with my attention span, I have two sisters who did. But the thought of sitting still and relaxing is nearly excruciating. I have finally found my calling, I have been released to pursue it, I have one thousand ideas on how to pursue the calling, but God tells me, “Be still.”
Is there an art to stillness? I laugh at myself as I think of how hard I have tried to find it, maintain it, water it, but it remains elusive to my busy-mind. It is not something I can study, cut out and glue for later reference. It doesn’t fit well on my to-do list (though I have set the timer in an attempt to train myself to a single task instead of several). Thus my issue: “What are you doing to nurture your soul?” This question was asked by a coach as I spent over an hour trying to sort through what God has called me to. Frantic I might miss any amazing opportunity, I scratch out biblical items to study, books to read, blogs to write, posts to make, all to enhance my ministry as wife, mother, writer, teacher, actress … And this wonderful coach calmly directed me to a rocking chair and listened and asked questions, amazing me with insight. My breathing slowed and I gazed out the window directly across from me and my feet (usually bobbing with nervous energy) moved my body back in forth in repetitive, fluid motion. The door remained open to the office and it felt as though a door within me was opening, a new perspective trying to emerge, no more hiding from fears of failures, no more masking the anxiety.
“What are you worried about?”
“That I’m not doing enough.”
Mirth filled his blue eyes, “That is one thing I don’t think you will ever need to worry about. But what are you doing to nurture your soul?”
Sabbath, rest, enjoy, love, laugh, smile, dance… not often enough.
My mind is in hyper-speed and in the evening I look enviously at my husband at the end of the day when he lays down and I ask what he is thinking about. He replies in quiet peace, “Nothing.”
What is that like, that calm, stillness? Is it a gentle rain? Is it a wistful breeze rustling silver-backed leaves? What is it like knowing God is God and actively trusting Him by recognizing, “I can’t do it all, I trust I have done all I can and He just wants me to be still, be me, and just breathe?” When Jesus had the wisdom while on this earth to retreat and go speak with God and just enjoy His Father, how did He know to do that? How did He leave behind the crowds for whom He felt compassion knowing there were unmet needs, but that He was only called to meet some of them; He was only called to do what He saw His Father doing. How did He not rush around Israel making everything feel better for everyone?
He knew His mission, He knew the boundaries of His mission. Being God, He could have changed them, He could have done whatever He wanted, but He would never act contrary to His will and therefore, He did only what He was called to do when He was called to do it. And He did rest, He did spend time with His Father alone, and He did not let others determine His schedule, though He allowed His schedule to be flexible and disrupted.
I have been learning flexibility, I have been learning what I am called to and how to fulfill my purpose. But resting, being still, saying “no” to what I have not been called to … I allow vanity and guilt to persuade me to take on the “good” and miss the “best”. If I trust God as the mighty awesome God He is, as I say I do, should I not rest in Him? If I rest in Him, won’t my faith be evident?
I thought this would hurt more to write, but instead, I find release here. I find freedom. Perhaps I will at last learn to just be still.
For further meditation: Isaiah 40, Psalm 46
What has God called you to do?
What are you doing that God has not called you to do?
Are you resting?
What is God asking you to trust Him with?
Please pray for me as I learn this hard lesson… how can I pray for you?