“Be still and know that I am God” from Psalm 46: 10 reminds us to put aside our busy activity, our worries, anxieties and fears and be quiet. How difficult that is with the lifestyles we lead today.
We’re constantly in motion and when we aren’t, we feel guilty. Or, maybe it’s just a mom-thing to feel guilty. We have an urgent sense of caring for our families, preparing meals, being the taxi to the next event, keeping the home in order, being a nurturer to our children and being accessible to them whenever they need us. The list is endless as we consider our active role as mothers, sisters, friends and wives.
On this theme of constant motion and activity, J. Philip Newell wrote: “It is a haunt of madness that reflects the self-destructiveness of refusing to be still”
As I’ve spoken to other mothers it’s a common occurrence that we understand one another when we say we are exhausted, that we fall into bed at night, wiped out. And even then, before we can rest our minds, we’re going over all the events of the day, checking off our mental lists and thinking about what we have to accomplish tomorrow. And, just before sleep there is that moment of prayer…while trailing off to slumber.
It’s no wonder we seek refreshment and books to inspire us…no wonder we long for vacations to lift us out of our daily routines and rest. We have to find a tangible reason to rest, something we’ve earned through hard work or a significant accomplishment. Then, aaahhhh…we feel justified in being still, on the beach or in the mountains or by some pristine lake.
This, however, was not the example set by Christ. His was a ministry of perfection, marked by obedience and balance. He taught, he healed, he feasted, he listened, he prayed, he rested, he fasted…in a rhythm that was nurturing to Him, nurturing to us as we follow His example.
Since becoming Orthodox, I have recovered a daily sense of spiritual refreshment through my prayer life. And this refreshment goes a long way toward my roles as mother, wife and friend... as we are comforted, so we may comfort another.
Not long ago, as the kids and I were having a devotion outside on a beautiful summer morning, I asked them to be quiet for two full minutes and see what they could hear. They closed their eyes and listened. Afterward, they told me they heard the birds singing, a distant lawn mower, the wind. How important it is that we learn how to quiet ourselves to be attentive to the world around us, to God speaking to our hearts in those quiet moments.
If we never take time to be still, how will we ever have anything to offer another?