Be still! I hear it in my head in two different voices. My mother voice, reprimanding a squirmy child. It sounds tight and strained and on the verge of a hiss. A staccato threat whispered in their ear. Then there is the other voice, God’s voice, which in my head sounds a lot like Morgan Freeman. Deep, calming and soothing. Be still. This is more of an invitation, an opportunity to take a deep breath in, slowly exhale and just ahhhh, be still. Cease striving. Doesn’t that sound wonderful? Ceasing to strive, stopping the madness.
The other day I looked around and realized that I had hit a new low in my quest for superstardom. A status that I may not consciously be chasing, but who doesn’t want to be super mom and employee of the year while still maintaining her devotion and commitment to God. This is what a servant’s heart is right? God’s hands and feet, flying at a million miles a minute. So here is the picture… Thursday morning I am driving my son to school instead of having him ride the bus because of a nasty laceration on his knee. He was on crutches and his knee in an immobilizer. (We had spent 4 hrs with him in the ER on Monday evening after a sports related accident.) Because he wasn’t riding the bus I had to wake my younger daughter up early and take her with me. (You see, school is a 20 min commute and Thursday mornings are my husband’s bible study so he can’t do “bus” duty.) So off to school we all go, making sure we remember lunches, my daughter’s volleyball practice bag, backpacks, and my computer and files for work. We drop my son at school and I remind him that I am picking him up at 2:00 for an appointment with an orthopedic dr (the ER couldn’t rule out a fracture so we had to see a specialist) and then I take my daughter to pick out doughnuts for breakfast. As we are sitting in the school parking lot eating our breakfast, waiting for the appointed time for her to go into school, I get a text from her volleyball coach. “Reminder to have the girls bring their uniforms to practice for team pictures tonight.” I look at my daughter, “Oh, yeah I forgot about that,” she says sheepishly. Ok, so new plan. I was supposed to be at work for an early meeting (translation, rushing from school to work 30 minutes in the opposite direction of home) but now I had to go home and gather a volleyball uniform. Let me stop here a minute, have you ever had mornings like this? I often wonder is this in an anomaly in our house or if there are other families out there who are like us, barely holding it together at times. The rest of the morning went like this…dropped my daughter at school, went home and grabbed the shirt and socks from the dirty clothes (pictures don’t have scent right?!) pulled the sopping wet shorts from the washer and headed to work using the vents in the car as a dryer. As I got close to work I spilled coffee on my shirt (are you kidding me?!) and got an SOS text from my grandma who had a computer question. I drive right by her house on my way to work so I swooped in, left the car running with the vents blasting hot air to keep drying the shorts, showed her how to forward a sent email, and descended on work, frazzled, stained, and still with a schedule hanging over my head. As I was racing 30 minutes back in the direction I had just come from to pick up my son at the high school, drop off the volleyball bag with the now dry uniform shorts in it at the elementary school, I stopped, took a deep breath, and wondered what in the world I was doing…
Barbara Stanny, a speaker and life-coach has said “Ask us to lighten our load, actually say no to a task, and we start to panic. As if our world would shatter if we slowed down. The truth is, we’ve become so controlled by shoulds, oughts, musts, have-tos that we’ve lost sight of what’s honestly important.” I was so there. Maybe you find yourself there as well. Think about it, when was the last time you sat down to eat a meal in silence without reading or watching tv? For that matter when was the last time you sat down to eat? Is your phone on and never far from your side 24 hours a day? Maybe your kids are involved in a thousand things and you are running from one activity to the next, living out of the backseat of your car? The irony of the addiction to busyness is that it comes from a drive to succeed and a compulsion to get more done, but it is actually counterproductive because the well of what needs to be done will never run dry. You begin to feel like you are drowning in your own life. I have often joked that I felt like a hamster in a wheel, running and running, and not getting anywhere.
It’s days like this that I want to yell “Stop the world! I want off!” I want my running shoes, my music blaring in my ears, and the mind numbing stillness that it provides. I want to cease striving, striving to be everything to everyone around me, supermom, star employee, victorious survivor, model wife. I am not June Cleaver and I don’t want to be. I am flawed, and sometimes I am a mess and I am here to tell you it’s ok! Take a deep breath and soak in God’s presence, and just be. When we begin to learn to quiet our minds we will suddenly be able to hear from God. Not in the thunder, not in the earthquake, but in the quiet. That is where we will find God every time.
Stop the madness and take refuge in God.
Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10