Still

Still. adjective. According to a hodgepodge of definitions I pieced together, “Not moving or making a sound, undisturbed by wind, sound, or current; calm and tranquil.”

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Woman Bathing Her Feet in a Brook by Camille Pissaro

People, my life is swinging.

(If my life is so swinging, you may ask, why I am typing this instead of doing productive things like reading textbooks and reading YA books and reading emails and reading the back of cereal boxes while staring uncomprehendingly at Buzz the Honey Nut Cheerios Bee. Maybe I need to create and arrange words rather than just read them. Or maybe is good for my mental well-being. Like practically as good as working out is for my physical well-being. Or so I’ll tell myself, anyways.

My days are overflowing with good craziness. I have a beautiful, wonderful hall full of beautiful, wonderful girls who are worthy of more love and attention and time than I can possibly give. I have classes that stuff my head with knowledge (hence all of that reading) and make me churn out ideas that might actually come in handy someday. But my calendar and brain drag with the weight of jam-packed days, of moments flooded with words and lists and responsibilities and classroom applications and deep breaths.

But I’m going to quit venting about my nutty schedule, because pretty much everyone I know is busy, carrying lives full to the brim with stuff to do and places to be. Let’s not play the I’m-busier-than-you game, because it’s dumb and no one wins and, in the words of an oft-quoted Internet meme, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

(Side note: I can’t believe I just typed that. Lord help me.)

Instead, I will tell you what God’s whispering to me among the shrieks of the urgent and looming.

Be. Still.

That’s it. Two little words. Two little syllables. It’s a saying easy enough for a wriggly two-year-old to remember, small enough to stamp on a bracelet. (I have it stamped on a bracelet, if you were wondering.)

Yet that teensy bracelet-able command is so dang hard.

When I get busy, I am the opposite of still. I am harried and strategic and efficient. I scurry and speed-walk, scheduling and commanding and accomplishing. Things become items to check off. People become items to check off. Jesus and sweet communion with him become items to check off.

When your life becomes a to-do list, something’s broken.

In Psalm 23, David talks about God leading us beside green pastures and quiet waters and restoring our souls. I’ve heard that in Old Testament times, water was a symbol of chaos and danger. Apparently the Israelites weren’t very good swimmers. But this passage evokes no raging waves or churning rivers or navy depths waiting to claim those who can barely dog-paddle. Instead, there is calm, the sense of toes skimming glassy early morning lakes and quiet brooks drenched in forest stillness. Peace and comfort envelop souls, smooth the brow wrinkled with worry and fear. Maybe the waters won’t always be subdued. Maybe they’ll flood tomorrow, sinking fragile boats and human hopes. But for right now, they are quieted under the watchful, protecting hand of God.

I need a little quieting of the waters right now.

Rather than the turmoil of a hundred expectations and the never-ending checklist chopping up my life, I want rest. And not just on weekends. I want to know that that my schedule will not drown me, that I am not trapped in the current of endless lesson plans to create and love to give. I want to look at my stress and choose to say, “You do not control me.”

There’s a little work to be done in this sighing heart before that happens.

But if Jesus can still troubled waves, walking right over the water threatening to swallow his friends, I’ve got to believe that he can quiet the troubles of my heart too.

Let’s start praying for a little miraculous storm-calming, shall we?

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4 thoughts on “Still

  1. Thank you for posting this–God knew I needed these reminders today! I remember the harried college days, and though some days it feels like life only gets busier, it’s encouraging to look back at the path behind me and see how good, how patient God is, how much He has brought us all through. “Be Still” is a lesson He’s been teaching and reteaching me, but I am so grateful He doesn’t give up on me. Thank you for this, and know that I am praying for that storm-calming!

  2. Anna, I hope you know that just reading these things make me feel better. Seriously, the very first post made me cry. I think I texted you and told you about it! Thank you so much for sharing!

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