Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Forced Stillness

Rain. I watch it beat against the kitchen window this morning. The sky is dark, gray and low. Blowing wind bends the trees backwards and forwards. The dogs are completely quiet—curled in different places in the house, breathing deeply because two of them are afraid of the storms.

Forced stillness. I am grateful. My whole morning has been simpler, quieter and slower. Not my usual harried and scurried rush of wanting to get ten things finished, done or accomplished before 9 a.m.

I spoke to my daughter this past week. She has been in an RV for eighteen days traveling in the west—seeing things and places I have only read about and seen in photographs. I asked her what she was learning on this trip and she replied, “…to be still.” I laughed, but she continued.” “To be still and it is hard. I feel like I have restless leg syndrome inside.”

She and her sister have been in a place of forced stillness. They have had few other options. And so this morning I think of them and God’s exhortation through the psalmist, “Be still and know that I am God.”

Interior restless leg syndrome. I have experienced it. I can get my body still, but my mind is another territory. My mind continues long after my body gives up.

Lately, I have been restless. Not an anxious or bored restlessness, but an undercurrent—a hum just below the surface.

And I have learned in this walk of faith that when that hum begins, then, more than ever, I need to be still.

And so this morning, I sit in front of the kitchen window and watch the storm outside. My inward humming current is slowing, but it remains. I don’t yet want to assess or analyze it. I just want to be still in this place of forced stillness so that I might hear what God has to say to me.

He wants me to know him. Isn’t that astounding? He wants to draw near to me in the stillness so that I am only conversing with him. He wants me in a place where my body is still, but more importantly my mind and heart have been quieted so that He can give me my next set of instructions. He wants to assure me. Amazing isn’t it?

My prayers are just disconnected phrases and strings of thoughts. They seem inarticulate and incomplete. But they rise, and I know that before they reach the Father’s ear, the Spirit has translated them from the groanings and moanings that they are to petitions and prayers.

In the stillness the Spirit translates for me. When I am rushed and hurried and in the middle of frenetic behavior I cannot hear the translation. I cannot experience what He is doing for me.

And this morning, my God wants me to hear him. What a privilege. He wants to calm even the humming. My attention is splintered in many directions. I attempt to finish one task only to realize I left another undone. Only He can absorb the hum, the distractions and the noise that reside in my fractured mind.

The rain has stopped. The wind has stilled.

I am in a place now where I can almost hear his voice above the hum.

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