I waved goodbye to the stillness of the lake and headed toward the beautiful chaos I call home.
It was a quick weekend retreat with a few admirable women. We met at a friend’s cozy cabin, surrounded by trees and overlooking the water. It was an opportunity, a gift to spend a number of hours alone with the Lord, praying through different scriptures. But the best part of that was the listening.
I didn’t touch my laptop, my day planner, the TV. I didn’t answer questions by the handful or serve my littles a meal or pick up all their things. I didn’t run from event to event or keep anyone on schedule. Time at the lake was a different, wonderful rhythm.
Jesus often left the chaos of the crowds and went off alone to pray. He also left that solitude to meet people’s needs. We can imitate Him by spending time at home each day away from our crowd, in His presence. But so often I find that time rushed. Which is a by-product of a life spent rushing.
“When I am constantly running there is no time for being. When there is no time for being there is no time for listening.” –Madeleine L’Engle, Walking on Water
We are clock-watchers, schedule-keepers, and list-makers. We are phone-scanners, instant-messengers, and facebook-checkers. Our lives are a series of events. We breathe shallow. This is our usual rhythm, and that of our neighbors.
Most of us know we need margin. We know it won’t appear out of nowhere. But we still fight the urge to say yes to every invitation.
I don’t know about you, but it catches up to me. Sometimes I know I’m worn out, but I just keep swimming.
What would happen if we did less? Would we miss too much? Would our kids? Or would we all gain something more?
Psalm 46 ends with this amazing grace–Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth.
Another version says, Cease striving.
It’s okay to stop striving, to stop keeping up with everyone else. Because He is God and He will be exalted.
In all my running, when it’s busyness gone wild, what exactly am I striving for?
And when striving, who exactly do I trust in?
In Hebrew, the word translated “be still” could also say Let Go.
Letting go is the heart of stillness, and herein lies our struggle to be still and listen.
May we let go, and acknowledge that He is God.