Last week we talked about strolling.

Now, let’s not only slow down, but stop for a minute.

Don’t move.

Do breathe.

What do you hear?

What do you see?

What do you smell?

What do you feel on the outside?

What do feel on the inside?

What do you taste?

What do you sense?

What do you think?

I think there is more going on than I can know. I live in the middle of a hurricane. The world is swirling violently all around me. The temporary calm I may perceive if I try dwell in the eye is not a true calm. I look up and enjoy the blue sky for what it is, but I know that this world offers no true calm. Earthly calm is fleeting and must be chased.

But I’m tired of chasing. I want true calm. “Be still and know that I am God,” comes to mind. What does that really mean? What is the context?

“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.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Come and see the works of the Lord, the desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the shields with fire. 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, New International Version

Nations are in uproar, and natural disasters devastate. Personal turmoil, depressing news, the scary uncertain future. The storm rages all around, but when I stop and look up I know that I was “born for the blue skies” (from Dark Horses by Switchfoot), whether I can see them or not.

And I know (barely sometimes) that God is with us, whether I perceive him or not. My senses fail me when it comes to God. Or is it that I’m not following simple instructions (like I tell my kids all the time)? “Be still, and know…” Sounds simple.

Stilling my body is getting easier as I age and energy wanes. Stilling my mouth has also improved with age, even though one of my childhood nicknames was “Diesel Mouth” (my Dad’s creative version of Motor Mouth). Stilling my mind, on the other hand is still nearly impossible… except after 8pm. When I shut the door to the kids room at night, I become instantly and utterly useless.

That’s it! That is when I should practice stillness! Instead of allowing my brain to munch the mental junk food on TV, or read books that I’m too tired to remember, I should sit still, and find out what it means to know that God Is God. Let him tell me himself. Learn to listen, learn to hear God’s “still small voice” (1 Kings 19;11-12). “He leads me beside the still waters” (Psalm 23:2b).  “Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act” (Psalm 37:7). “Then she said, ‘Sit still, my daughter, until you know how the matter will turn out…” (Ruth 3:18)

Stillness is not useless. It is not inactive. It is purposeful, deliberate. It takes practice. Stillness is the pursuit and capture of true calm.

Welcome to Everyday Eden! And no, I will not be posting every day. Part of my quest for truth and beauty is a quest for peace, a quest for less. This world is so overstimulating. I do not want to bombard you with peace. That just doesn’t make sense. So I hope to post every Wednesday. The perfectionist within, that I fight with often, wanted me to post on January 1st, and every Wednesday thereafter (because that would have been so perfect!), but the Spirit within me has other plans…

So here we are, four weeks late according the perfectionist, but right on time according to the Spirit, who dwells beyond the limits of time anyway… and within me. What a mystery. Well, I guess part of me will dwell past the end of time, too. It is comforting to imagine life without alarms, ticking clocks, reminders, alerts, notifications. No such thing as late. No such thing as hurry. “The hurry makes us hurt,” according to Ann Voskamp in One Thousand Gifts. Oh yes it does.

I hope you will slow the pace once a week and meander with me. The pursuit of truth and beauty is not a hot pursuit. It is bare feet on fuzzy moss. It is sitting and studying all you see. It is lying down and listening.

The 2014 starter gun fired eons ago by today’s standards, and I. do. not. care. I might be the last one out of the blocks, but I may just wander right off the track. We will all arrive at 2014′s finish line at precisely the same time as those around us, whether we sprint or stroll or even sit.


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