Being Silent in the BusyOctober 2, 2015
We have busy lives. It’s drummed into us from such a young age – What did we achieve today, how are we going to fill our time tomorrow? I’ll sadly admit I’ve been conditioned into the state where being busy feels good, where being busy, and more importantly being productive, gives our lives value – if we’re brave enough to admit it directly or not. Being lazy, being idle, having little to show for your days are all marks of time not well spent. When I don’t achieve anything I feel the day slipping away like a lost fortune… equally when really busy I lose the beauty of silence, stillness, and space to connect with my creator.
Finding a balance is difficult. I manage a sprawling kids ministry site, between wrestling with the joys of being a creative, I have translation projects and the dream of making the whole thing into a published book. I take an active role in my husbands career, assisting with situations that need an avalanche of English. My husband freelances which is another way of saying he works really disconnected hours, at least twice the hours he’s paid for, and has an income a bit like public transport, nothing for ages then everything at once. Not to mention I’m a mummy, a ‘full time-and-a-half’ job in of itself, complete with overflowing washing baskets, a never ending cleaning job list, and a kitchen that beacons me to try and pull meals out of it far too often. It’s easy to be busy.
Being still is harder. Being still is not the cuppa on the sofa or the pause under the shower. Being still is truly stopping, both physically and mentally, ceasing the mental to-do list and letting the voice in your head drift away. It’s centring yourself to a moment in time and then letting it go. Stillness is an active, continual choice. It’s something I’m practising, because in the stillness I find peace and joy.
In the stillness I don’t need to strive for perfection because it’s already there.
We are called to practice stillness, practice stopping, practice pausing as part of our faith. Pausing isn’t counter-productive, quite the opposite. Many people get eureka moments as the fall asleep, as their mind lets go of the problems the solutions surface from the heap. Stillness is productive in much the same way, it clears the clutter and reveals the simplicity of reality. It leaves us open to possibilities, encounters, and for me right now, most importantly, it leaves me open to renew my conversation with my maker.