Friday, August 9, 2013

The Art of Being Still (and how much I hate it)

Rest and stillness. 

Two words that I do not like. I mean, in theory they sound great. In theory, they include a contented regiment of book reading, walking, cooking great meals, and quiet. In truth, they drive me crazy. As much as I would love to enjoy sitting around all day, and as much as I am sure all of my friends and family who work 40 hours a week might envy this period of my life, I'm starting to get a little frustrated.

It makes sense why. I  am an on-the-go kind of girl, always busy and always moving. Last quarter I took an overload of classes, worked 30 hours a week, and still found time for a social life. College was the same way. I kept myself busy and I liked it that way. But three weeks ago I got plopped down in Georgia and told to sit still...for a month.

Granted, the first few days were a thing of beauty. I stayed in my pajamas, I watched movies, I slept in...fantastic. But eventually I started to miss my job, the structure of places to be and things to do, and I started to feel purposeless. Don't get me wrong, I'm not truly miserable. I have the freedom to be with family and friends, I do have a purpose in raising support to go work on the Apache reservation, and sometimes my mom cooks dinner for me...but a girl can only take so much, and the thought of another month like this is starting to make me squirm.

But as always, when I get impatient God decides to teach me another lesson. So when I was reading a book on spiritual friendships and spiritual directors the other night (yes, I am still in classes. I finish at the end of the month) my eyes settled in on a few words that I tend to hate, and I really shouldn't have been surprised.

To be a spiritual friend, it said, and to fully be there for those you love, you have to find a place of stillness inside yourself. 

Hm. Stillness. Fancy seeing that word there. The book continued to say that if we cannot find a place of quiet inside ourselves, and if we are always preoccupied with our busy lives, then we can never fully be a spiritual friend to someone else. Meaning that without a quiet space inside myself, I cannot be an adequate mentor for the girls on the Apache reservation, and I certainly cannot do my job well.

So there it was, staring at me on the page, and all I could think was, "well darn. It looks like I might have to try this thing after all." And so kicking and screaming (not literally) I reluctantly put the words from the page into my head and heart, and decided to give this thing a go.

To be honest, I don't even know what stillness looks like, and I am sure going to be a pain as I try to learn this lesson, but I think perhaps it is one that God has put in front of me at this specific time for a reason. If I cannot learn to be still, then I cannot be what He wants me to be for my team and my students at Apache Youth Ministries. I have to trust Him that learning to be still is still being productive, and that this lesson will be vital to my ministry and life.

So here it goes. This weekend I am going up to a lake house with a few college friends of mine, and I am putting it on internet paper that I will not worry, fret, or be preoccupied with my fundraising and my future. I will try to simply be. Be with my friends, be with their stories and their lives, and be present in the moment. Funny, my boss at AYM sent me this verse the other day:

"Let Him have all your worries and cares, for He is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you." 1 Peter 5:7

I like that translation of the verse, and I think it is about time I let it sink in.

So here is to letting go and finding joy in the stillness.

I'll let you know how it goes. :) 

1 comment:

  1. Someone once told me that before I do for the Lord I have to take time to be with the Lord. Enjoy your quiet time with the Lord before you go full steam for Him!