I thrive on seasonal change. We are exiting the summer of lazy laundry days mixed between exciting travel adventures. Upon us is the back-to-school season, with promises of routine, cooler weather, and pumpkin spice lattes. Unfortunately, this new season is also littered with a whole lot of “have-to’s”:
- I have to fit in one last camping trip.
- I have to buy that new sweater.
- I have to sign my kid up for sports.
- I have to join another club.
- I have to get back to the gym!
We are lucky to forget to add pre-planned Christmas shopping to our list. A season meant to bring stability, structure, and new opportunities is creating chaos of our priorities, overwhelming the hours in our day, and stuffing our closets to the brim. We become:
- Living for the weekend
During our honeymoon in Jamaica, Shane and I spent some time cliff jumping and cave-snorkeling in the ocean. The waves that day were less than tame. I used all my energy to stay afloat as the water tossed my body toward the rocks. After only 10 minutes of pure determination to enjoy the water, I was spent.
My body felt sore, weary, and older than it was. I needed a break.
I think this is how the demands of the school year can feel. Exciting at first, adventurous and brave, even. But soon the pleasure turns to a beating; the excitement turns to exhaustion.
Lisa Chan mentions this kind of exhaustion in her video: Be Still. She says,
“We wonder why women are so spiritually dead? Why the women in the church are struggling with depression and anxiety, and stress, and totally lacking in spiritual maturity.”
She sums up the spiritually dead into two categories: women who claim to be too busy, and women who claim to be too weary. She goes on to note that these women still find time and energy to commit themselves to reality TV shows, magazines, internet games and quizzes, social media scrolling, and scrapbooking. And yet these things only “perpetuate feelings of being worn out by the world, and tired, and empty.”
It is so easy for me to be tossed by the waves of every task and activity our culture offers. I have to learn to get out of the water. I need to spend some time being still with Jesus on the beach for a while.
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging…
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth.”
The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Psalm 46:1-3, 10, 11
God modelled this kind of stillness for us on the 7th day of creation. Priscilla Shirer writes about this in her book, Breathe: “The purpose of God’s Sabbath day was not to put up his proverbial feet, take a load off, and chill out after creating the universe… He wasn’t tired, He was expressing satisfaction.”
We too, can relax without plopping on the couch with netflix running. We can reflect God-style stillness by taking satisfaction in Him. In order to be still, we must:
- Put it in our schedules.
- Clear out the distractions.
- Cultivate hushed hearts that listen.
- Choose active-stillness: intentional letting go and being quiet.
Establishing a daily/weekly time to be still does not mean we are weak women. It means we are Christ-centered women.
Just like on my honeymoon, participating in the waves of activities and “have to’s” are not necessarily evil. However, God calls us to focus our worship, our schedules, our efforts, on knowing Him! We can navigate the waters better when we jump in a boat where the captain whispers, “peace, be still.” And then we realize he is addressing the storm in our own hearts, rather than the chaos all around us.
This concept of sabbath, rest, stillness, quiet is so counter-cultural. Help us to learn the art of stillness in the midst of chaos. Give us wisdom to say no to the kind of chaos that keeps us rushing away from you.
In Jesus name,
Week 2 Challenge:
- Monday, Aug. 17: Set your alarm to rise earlier. Make a list of 5 ways you can honor God and start your day right in the morning.
- Tuesday, Aug 18: Wake up and embrace the day! Make a plan to set aside on 1/2 hour to be still with God this week. (It might be harder than you think)
- Wednesday, Aug 19: Download this free background for your phone, and start memorizing Psalms 46:10
- Thursday: Check back for the next post!
Where do you go to be still?