Sitting Still

It’s 3:35pm on Tuesday.  I have been wound up all day.  Actually, I was amped up last night, too.  Laying in bed, asking Ryan, “why am I so tense?”  He told me I would feel better if I got some exercise, to which I twisted my face and shot him that glare, silently demanding an answer to that really dumb question of, “Why?  Do you think I’m fat?”  But, he’s right, I do feel better when I’m on a regular excise routine.  But, of course, I hate being told what to do.

So, here we are, the next day, 3:35pm on the couch, taking advantage of the still unnatural freedom of self-employment.  I’m tired and feeling drained from a day filled with nervous energy.  I have resolved to force myself into a moment of peace.  Calvin’s sleeping.  Blaise is in the backyard playing with his water table.  Ryan and I juggled a morning of children, meals, e-mail follow ups, blog posts, dishes, real estate strategy, sponsored recipe proposals and a litany of details.  But, at the current moment, we have no pressing matters that require our attention.

I turn to Ryan and ask, “Why can’t I sit still?”  He’s resting on the couch, eyes half closed and says, “Just listen to the air conditioner.”

I say, “If I’m sitting still, I’m being lazy.”  He says, “You’re not lazy.  If you did this all day you’d be lazy.”

Internal monologue, “But it’s 3 in the afternoon.  Lazy people quit for the day at 3pm.  Hustlers never stop.”

I say, “If I’m sitting still, I’m not doing anything valuable, and I want to feel valuable.”

“Babe, you’re valuable.  Just listen to the air conditioner.”

Because I learned the lesson once doesn’t mean I don’t quickly forget.  Sitting still is hard.  Every day is an exercise in discipline.  Every day I have to wake up and remind myself of three important things, keys to my recovery.

1.  My worth is not related to my productivity.  I can be the most productive human being in the world, operating on a schedule of maximum efficiency and still feel empty.  True joy and inner peace aren’t earned, they’re inherent gifts from God.

2. Sitting still is a mandatory activity, especially if I’m going to call myself an artist.  The creativity to write these blog posts and dream up new recipes cannot be forced or conjured.  It comes on its own time, and more specifically, when my brain is at peace and free to wander.

3. Life is today, in this moment.  Frenetically spinning my wheels, attempting to create safety in the future through accomplishment will be the death of me.  Busy moments come and I’ll be busy, but when quiet moments come, I need to be quiet.

We sat and we listened to the air conditioner.

Peace.

Then, I wrote this blog post, free of writer’s block.

    4 Comments
    • Reply Karalee

      August 14, 2015, 9:15 am

      *sigh* Sitting still, especially during the “workday,” is a call that is hard to heed (for more than 2 minutes). If I may, I’ll offer a few thoughts that help me. First, I remember that God’s ultimate desire for me is communion with Him, which is best accomplished in times of stillness and solitude: “Be still (“cease striving”) and know that I am God…” implores Psalm 46:10. The Westminster Catechism begins: “What is the chief end of man? The chief end of man is to know God and enjoy Him forever.” George Miley once shared a metaphor that I have found tremendously helpful since I tend to think in images rather than words. He said, imagine you are walking in the forest near a stream and you come upon a little pool of water that is so crystal clear you can see to the bottom. If you take a stick and stir up the water, you’ll see only dirt and sticks and leaves swirling about. But if you sit quietly and wait, you’ll find that the water stills, the dirt, sticks and leaves begin to settle. It takes some time for this to happen. But if you are patient, you will find that you can see clearly again, all the way to the bottom. Our lives are like that stirred up pool: we need times of quiet for things to settle, so we can see clearly (and even hear God’s voice more clearly). “He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters; He restores my soul….”
      The BEST thing we can do for those we love is spend time with our God, to be filled with His limitless love, His abundant grace, His unending peace–otherwise we merely strive in our own conditional, limited, finite selves.

      • Reply Susan

        September 5, 2015, 2:31 am

        Joanie, thank you for writing this blog post. I wish you the very best with your journey; simply take it one day at a time. That’s all you can do to learn to be your best self for you and your family. It’s only what we all can do. Each day I strive to be better than yesterday. Remember, love heals all wounds. Love yourself, love others and let others love you too.
        Karalee, YOU are an awesome gift and blessing from God. Your words of wisdom are awesome. I loved and cherish every morsel of peace and beauty your brilliant message gives me.

    • Reply nsk

      August 15, 2015, 7:24 am

      Joanie…..You are an amazing woman!! Looking forward to seeing the blogs of your Journey. Karalee’s words are so true….. “Be still and know that i am God”

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