Be Still

Do you ever feel like life is one enormous checklist of things to do?  From the minute I roll out of bed to the moment I flip off my bedside lamp light at the end of the day, I am on the clock.  Even the hours I sleep are few and far between due to the gazillion activities throughout my day.  I live and die by the clock.  My watch, tethered to my wrist, runs my day.  I feel naked without it.  Noticing the farmer’s tan on my wrist when I shower is all too telling.  The moment the faucet is turned off and I’m dry, I’m fishing for it–again.

Once I arrive at work, my eyes shift from my watch to my classroom clock.  Forty-nine minute classes define my day, block by block.  Throughout those 49 minutes, I pull out my timer to measure out smaller chunks of time.  After school it is out the door by 3:35 pm to get home in time to tag team my wife as she leaves for work, and I’m back to … you guess it.  My watch.  Workout time.  Dinnertime.  Bedtime.  Oh yeah, it all fits in.  Finally, the day ends with that cherished hour or so to my wife and I.  The moment my head hits the bed, I’m out.  Exhausted yet fulfilled.

There are occasions when I hear an all too familiar whisper … well, more of a nudge in my conscience I suppose.  The voice, crystal clear, tells me take a breath and slow down.  But who am I to listen to that voice?  There are too many things to accomplish throughout my life, checklists to complete and satisfaction to be mine.  Seeing those lists of things to do dissipate with my every action has become all too fulfilling as of late.  Although that satisfaction might be warranted if I am doing something God wills me to do, I realized recently that the voice I spoke of above belonged to God.

I felt that gentle nudge to slow myself down and seek out what God truly had to say in His Word.  The scripture below, refreshing and rejuvenating, convicted me.

“The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent” (Exodus 14: 14).

“But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me” (Psalm 131: 2)

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” (Psalm 46: 10).

I have a feeling others may struggle with this too.  I am not alone.  We have entered a generation where we are constantly battling a division of time between work, family, hobbies, friends, chores, you name it!  Our cell phones are constantly dinging in our pockets, and the rush of life is sadly making us bypass beauties God put in this world.  The other morning, walking into work, I wish I had stayed just a few seconds longer at the door gazing up at the beauties of the morning sunrise God had planted on the horizon.  Purples, oranges, and reds only worthy of His artistic flare were painted majestically amongst a cluster of clouds that looked like a serene desert.  I smiled at it all too quickly and shoved my way inside to get to work.

I’d like to share a poem and a song below that I found while slowing down to write about … well … slowing down.  Take them for what they are worth.  Each convicted me to pause and relax my soul over the weekend, and I wouldn’t trade the moments I created for the world.

Have you ever watched kids
on a merry-go-round
Or listened to the rain
slapping on the ground?
Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight
Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?
You’d better slow down
Don’t dance so fast
Time is short
The music won’t last.
Do you run through each day?
When you ask, “How are you?”
Do you hear the reply?
When the day is done
Do you lie in your bed
With the next hundred chores
Running through your head?
You’d better slow down
Don’t dance so fast
Time is short
The music won’t last.
Ever told your child,
We’ll do it tomorrow
And in your haste, not see his sorrow?
Ever lost touch,
Let a good friendship die
Because you never had time
To call and say “Hi”?
You’d better slow down
Don’t dance so fast
Time is short
The music won’t last.
When you run so fast to get somewhere
You miss half the fun of getting there.
When you worry and hurry through your day,
It is like an unopened gift….
Thrown away…
Life is not a race.
Do take it slower
Hear the music
Before the song is over.
(by David L. Weatherford)

Take a moment to slow down.  Enjoy the beauty of a sunrise.  Stare up at the stars on a crystal clear night and notice the stars.  Watch a two-year-old play on a playground, carefree and innocent.  Observe and marvel at a brightly-colored butterfly flapping over precious flowers.  Notice your spouse.  Your kids.  A struggling friend.  Quiet yourself and listen to the softness of the rain during a thunderstorm.  Make time for God by reading His Word.  Let His truths overwhelm you, pouring through your soul slowly like molasses.  Let it cover your stresses and worries like a blanket.  Take a breath.  Let it out.  Be still.

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