Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Active Stillness

Inspired by lots of time wandering through nature recently, I'm reminded of something that's been rolling around in my mind quite a bit since I moved to Vermont.

For so many years, I longed for something I had no idea how to define (or even recognize really). I've recently come to understand it as "active stillness." (This is not to be confused with rest, which is equally important, but quite different.) My definition of active stillness involves deliberate effort to be still and quiet and free from distraction in order to engage my mind and heart in active pursuit of prayer and interaction with Scripture and Christ. Easier said than done, I know. Certainly counter-cultural to attempt to live this way. It seems as though many these days equate stillness with laziness or lack of motivation. We should *always* have things to do, places to go, people iPhones & computers & the occasional person to interact with.

Is it any wonder so many people live in a state of perpetual exhaustion?

Too often we bow to the idol of busy-ness. We feast at the table of activity. We crown ourselves with tasks completed and achievements earned, none of which can quench our thirsty souls like a moment with our Savior. And surely he is able to get our attention through the noise of life, but of course he desires our undivided attention from time to time as well.


OK, confession time. Under normal circumstances, I'm terrible at this. Surrounded by distractions, I can come up with a dozen reasons at any given time to be busy. Hence the need to be deliberate in this pursuit. For me, that usually involves nature. Walking away from distractions and into the woods or up onto the mountain. Surrounded by nature, I can hear his voice. And nature itself reminds me of the very state I'm trying to achieve. Quiet, but not completely devoid of sound. Still on the surface, but actively growing and thriving. Receiving light. Receiving refreshing rain. Sometimes receiving various forms of pruning. And responding accordingly. This is the way I want to live.

Lord, help me to be still and listen so much more often. . . even when I have "things to do."

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