Cal is almost three and has become a mina bird of repetition. We all need to be cautious of what we say around him because he will repeat it–often with the correct context.
We gathered on our porch a few nights ago, sitting around the fire pit because it was brutally cold–the high 60s. His favorite place to be is Papa’s lap, watching videos on volcanoes, or listening to animal sounds.
But this night, he stretched out on one of the chairs, hands behind his head, and grinned at all of us. “I resting.”
His little bare feet to the fire, he was the picture of contentment, calm, and quiet.
Not his typical persona. Resting isn’t in his vocabulary. He’s often a whirlwind of movement, talking to anyone who will listen, and throwing things if people won’t pay attention to him.
This calm Cal was a delight.
What amazed me was how he understood being still. He sat contentedly for many minutes, a picture of stillness that gave me pause.
Then he was off and running.
That picture has stayed with me. One of voluntary stillness.
I’m worse at that than Cal.
I’m a high energy person that prefers doing to sitting. Over Christmas, with our kids and grands here, I was always “doing”–cleaning up after folks, cooking, serving. I have no qualms about doing that–I love to serve others.
My children were quick to comment that I needed to sit with them and enjoy being a family. They didn’t need me to do for them. They needed me to be with them.
I have a lifetime of busyness that often wears me out. Being quite verbal, I often complain about how tired I am. As if my doing is a badge of honor, a trophy that points to my achievements.
I need to learn to rest. And as this new year begins, it’s an attitude I’m seeking to be aware of.
We live in a culture of hurry and busyness. As an affirmative, diligence and perseverance are character qualities we hold in high regard. But too often those attitudes deprive me of a needed pause to consider how I’m doing, how my soul is faring.
It’s so much easier to keep moving and not think. It’s comfortable to ignore my own emotional health or challenges that I’ve marginalized because I don’t want to deal with them.
Hiding in my brokenness from what I need is a false refuge.
“One reason we can hardly bear to remain silent is that it makes us feel so helpless. We are so accustomed to relying upon words to manage and control others. If we are silent, who will take control? God will take control, but we will never let Him take control until we trust Him.” Richard Foster, “Freedom of Simplicity”
Being silent opens our hearts to what they really need–rest from God in His truth and goodness. As long as we move and talk, we ignore His quiet voice, calling us to be with Him.
Rest and silence. Huge challenges in our current culture.
Larger needs for our present condition.
Don’t be afraid of the cost of rest and stillness.
It will fill your soul.