In a world full of busy, how good are you at being still?
I have recently entered a period of what I have termed “forced rest.” A few weeks ago I went under the knife and was warned that my recovery would take 8-12 weeks (hence the lack of blog posts). I was told very clearly that I would need to rest and recuperate and if I didn’t stick to the resting rules that I may undo the work carried out while in surgery. With regular reminders from my husband, I have generally stuck to the resting plan but the other day I started to get a little stir crazy. I decided to venture out, with my chaperone, for coffee and cake at Asda Living (I’m all class!) By the time I reached the children’s toy section all I could think about was getting back to my cozy spot on the settee. My interest in coffee and cake had disappeared…yes, it was that bad! By the time I got home there was no option but to "be still".
I’ve never been very good at resting. Even when I settle down with my husband to watch a film, I still need some sort of distraction. It might be colouring, cross-stitch or internet shopping but in the end I find it extremely difficult to switch off, relax and just enjoy the film. My husband on the other hand is the polar opposite. Don’t get me wrong he works hard, but given the opportunity he could quite easily spend an entire Saturday snuggled up in bed fast asleep. I would probably last until about 11ish and would then start twitching about the list of things that need to be done and how I really should get to work!
At the moment it’s very easy to take the decision to rest. The expectation of everyone around me is that I take it easy and friends and family have sent many messages to remind me how important it is for me to take it steady. By their very nature these phrases give me permission to “take” rather than “give” to others. There is a general understanding and appreciation that I won’t be able to contribute to things in the way that I usually do. My get well soon cards, including the one pictured above, give me regular reminders that now is the time to “be still,” and everyone is ok with that. However, as continue my recovery there are some niggling questions that are lurking in the back of my mind.
What will happen when the 8-12 week window closes?
How will things change when there is no legitimate reason for me to take time out and be still?
How will I carve out time to be still when life is fully up and running again?
I’m exploring this further with the lovely ladies that form the Facebook book club that I’m part of. We are currently reading “Breaking Busy” by Alli Worthington. The irony is not lost on me that many of the book club members are behind on their reading because they are so busy! I say this with no judgment (if they’re reading this) as I’ve already explained the reason why I am up to date!
“Busy is intoxicating. We live in a day and age when we seem to get high on being busy. In fact we wear the label like a badge of honour, a secret seal of approval, a validation and proof of our worthiness. If we’re not busy, constantly racing from one thing to the next, then we obviously must not be doing enough…right?”
Guilty as charged was the first thing that came to mind when I read the words of Christine Cain in the foreward to “Breaking Busy”. The admission of guilt is immediately followed by a list of excuses as to why my busyness needs to be maintained. I act as if I have no choice but to keep as busy as possible but actually I have lots of choices. Fears about letting people down or not pulling my weight soon come into play. If I’m really honest I’m more bothered about the opinions of others rather than following God’s guidance on taking time out to rest in His presence.
As my strength recovers and my health improves it is inevitable that the busyness of life will creep back in and expectations and commitments will encourage me, once again, into the world of busy. It is essential that I heed the words of Psalm 46:10.
“Be still and know that I am God!
I will be honoured by every nation.
I will be honoured throughout the world.”
My hope is that being still will enable me to honour God in every aspect of my life. If I am never still then the expectations of others will drown out the voice of God that speaks throughout all of the verses of Psalm 46. Throughout the Psalm we are reminded that “God is our refuge and strength”, that we have no need to fear and that Heaven’s armies are here among us. In my first blog entry I wrote about taking God at His word and applying His truth in my everyday life. Throughout Scripture we are encouraged to be still and to rest in God. Recent weeks have shown that I have some serious work to do in this area. How about you?