Three times a day the dock spilled over with octopus’ and bc’s and air tanks and divers. They came here for one reason and it is the reef that surrounds the island. They compared stories of sightings and depths and units of air left when they surfaced. They know the dive site names. And they can’t fathom that anyone would come to this beautiful place in the Caribbean Sea and NOT dive.
But I did not travel with them to dive. I went to be still. In the weeks leading up to this trip, I’d traveled across state lines to sort and pack and carry. I’d picked up one parent from the hospital at 8 am and called 911 for another at 4 pm that same day. I had arrived at my home a mere 11 hours before leaving for this trip. I needed rest and time to process. I needed to be still.
My husband and our friends got on and off the boats. I laid in a hammock with a book. They peeled wetsuits on and off. I sat by the pool. They took photos and videos of all manner of underwater sea creatures. I took pictures of sunsets and fishing boats and mangroves.
The week stretched into one conversation on repeat:
Do you dive? No.
Have you tried it? Yes.
You didn’t love it? (insert incredulous tone here) No.
Want to try it again? No.
What are you going to DO all day? Read. (and by read, I really mean BE STILL.)
Because how do you explain about that deep yearning in your soul to rest in the presence of God? How do you articulate the calm of reading a passage of scripture and turning it over in your mind all day, like a taffy puller – stretching and kneading and folding over and over?
It’s a lost art – this idea of being still.
There are so many places to SEE and things to DO and items to check off a LIST.
But what if being still allows us to SEE people the way God sees them?
What if being still allows us to DO unto others what you would have them do to you? Me? I want others to be kind to me and patient with me. I want others to love me and show me hospitality. I want others to sit and hear me when my heart hurts, to rejoice with my big moments.
What if being still is the key to a mind shift from LISTS to legacy? to listening? to loving others more fully?
“Be still” is not a passive verb. It’s an active choice to slow down, say no, make space for the unexpected.
So how do we do it? How do we slow down in a world that is adding and adding, but never subtracting. I’ll start with some suggestions and quotes from friends, but would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
- Spend the week, month, or season social media free.
- Build one unscheduled day or one afternoon a week into your calendar (or start with one block of time a month) – no obligations, no appointments. See how God asks you to spend that time.
- Find a spot in your home or at a local park, any place where you feel your soul breathe. I had a Bible study teacher share about her prayer chair. Her kids knew that if she was in that chair, she was not to be disturbed.
- Find your own time and rhythm. “Early morning alarms that give me time with God before the dawn… and NO CELL PHONE.” This is a friend’s tip, but maybe you’re like me. You’ve had a falling out with “Dawn” and aren’t on speaking terms. For another friend, her favorite time to “Be Still and know God” is after the rest of her family has gone to bed at night.
- From a FB friend: “Make a conscious effort to have a “Psalm 23″, moment, hour or day. He leadeth me…”
The knowing God part is a whole other post (or 2 or 30). But the truth is that we can’t know God until we are willing to quiet our souls and BE STILL.