Thursday, July 30, 2009


The ability to simply "be still", I'm discovering, is not the easiest thing to develop. That was the thought that hit me as I was driving to work this morning.

By all accounts, I should be good at "still." I'm an introvert, who prefers quiet and alone to noise and people. Most of my happiest moments are alone, or with the few people with whom my relationship is so natural that I feel as free as if I were alone. In fact, I force myself to schedule social events in my daily life most of the time, and, while I enjoy them as a general rule, there is still often the sense that time alone would have been equally if not more enjoyable.

There are moments where I am easily able to move into stillness. And moments when stillness is the space in which I am able to live.

These last few months have not held those moments.

I've felt the adrenaline coursing through my veins. The stress of hunting for a place to live, the relief of finding one relatively easily. The stress of packing, then moving, and then unpacking. The end of wedding central with a wedding out of town. Family obligations. Dealing with moving various utilities to our new house. Taking care of the need to upgrade and renew my drivers license. Wondering if the money would hold out in the midst of somewhat higher than usual financial obligations. Anticipating another out of town wedding that will hold both joy and some very big challenges for my heart. Working through some very challenging relational issues. Some frustrating health setbacks. And God working deeply in some very raw and painful spots in my heart. Intense and vivid dreams. Launching a new product at work, and this week having a week where because of a vacation, I'm juggling my own job and another job with full-time responsibilities. Hot weather that my body doesn't handle very well. All coupled with many weeks where sleep was fleeting if it came at all. I've felt almost manic in my desperate attempt to juggle it all, and my continuous reminders to myself to "not be stressed, these things don't matter hugely in the grand scheme of life."

There have been "oasis" moments. A conversation with a new friend in a coffee shop that unexpectedly went to the deep places quickly, and reminded me of the things my heart loves. A period of time sitting in a mountain-top meadow, praying. A beautiful wild rose, shielded by a stone and the roots of a tree, near my favorite lake. But the moments have been a bit fleeting, and I am weary.

I've known for a bit now that I was running on fumes. That I was becoming deeply soul weary. The crash came suddenly, but not totally unexpectedly last night. I'd simply been hoping that it would wait to come until after this long weekend full of obligations.

It didn't.

So. I'm thinking about stillness, and how, after a season that has been nearly manic, it's hard to settle back into that place of stillness. About how I'm banking on a few short days off to be restorative, but how I realized this morning that if I can't manage to find stillness before those days, I will be unlikely to find it then. About how I fear that though I desperately need to meet Jesus, he won't show up in the time I've set aside for that, and how I fear the bereft and broken way that will make me feel. About the rational voice that reminds me that I'm in trouble if I'm only meeting with Jesus in the rare times when I can carve out a few days for him, and that I'm not meeting with him in my daily life.

Stillness is not my best skill when I'm coming off a time of driving, nearly manic stress, but I'm going to make an effort at it for the next couple of days. I'm going to try to do things that my heart loves, and that I find restful. Please don't laugh at me when I tell you that one of those things is a trip to Ikea to buy some much needed organizational supplies, followed by unpacking. It's starting to bother me that there are things scattered around our living room, and it will help me to be still if I can get that last bit of unpacking off of my plate. So, I'm going to take my time shopping. I'm going to rest and read. I'm going to intentionally (more than ususal, since I do this nightly) spend some time in scripture. I'm going to restore order to some places where my stressful month has left havoc - physical and emotional spaces.

And I'm going to practice stillness, push into it, rather than backing away from it, remembering a moment just recently where my heart was nearly still, and I turned away from the calming things, back towards that driving mania and stress (and paid for it at the cost of a night of sleep.)