Be Still


7:40am. I’m driving away from my beautiful home on Berry College’s mountain-campus and towards the start of a brand new day. As I round the corner and the road opens up and the trees part ways I gasp just a bit. Fields of trees with their vibrant fall colors peek through a thick blanket of fog. So many deer stare at me with wide eyes as I drive by.

I slow down and take a moment to let the peace of the morning soak in. I think about how incredibly thankful I am to be where I’m at. I think about how beautifully creative my God is that he designed the morning and all its glory.

10390010_10152829927678665_35272097042110110_nJesus, thank you. Thank you for allowing me to  experience just a glimpse of how magnificent you are in the beauty of this morning. Thank you for the constant reminders of your presence even in the most simple of things.

And so the day begins. Not bad for eight in the morning with just one cup of coffee in my system. Sometimes my mornings consist of me waking up late, throwing on a wrinkled shirt, burning my fingers on the curling iron, and choking on a bowl of oatmeal while I drive a bit too fast to get to class on time. But I’m thankful for mornings like these where everything seems to go just right and I can make a peaceful entrance into my day.

But as the minutes turn to hours and the day passes by I forget about the trees and the fog and the deer and the serenity of this morning. I get lost in a muddle of tests and books and to-do lists. I have things to do and places to be and people to see. Some tell me I like to stretch myself too thin, and maybe I do, but I enjoy being busy.

I finished this to-do list…but there’s always room for one more thing.

I have an hour break between classes…just one more coffee date. 

And not only do I need to do everything and be everything and be everywhere, but I have to do it all well. Even perfectly. 

Then my mind gets clouded by my anxious thoughts and fears of inadequacy.

Such-and-such person is in a bad mood this morning…I must have done something to make them upset. 

I had to turn down that invitation…I’m a disappointment. 

Today’s plans were changed last minute and now I’m not going to check off everything on my to-do list…I’m such a failure. 

But in the midst of marching from here to there to the beat of my anxious thoughts I hear Him whisper rest. breathe. be still. I hear Him say you don’t carry the weight of the world on your shoulders. I DO. He reminds me that I am nothing and I have nothing if I am not walking with Him. It doesn’t matter how many people I make happy today or how I prove myself at work if I forget that He is the one who gave me the gift of today.

In  a noise polluted world, it is even difficult to hear ourselves think let alone try to be still and know God. Yet it seems essential for our spiritual life to seek some silence, no matter how busy we may be. Silence is not to be shunned as empty space, but to be befriended as fertile ground for intimacy with God.

-Susan Muto

It’s so easy to forget how to be still, to be silent, to read for pleasure, to pray in solitude, to do something simply because I want to in a world so intent on filling up every second of my day with “productivity.” Humans were designed to rest. We were commanded to rest. I don’t know what makes me think that I’m above the need to take a breather when God Himself did exactly that, but I do know that my physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being is at stake here.

It isn’t just about doing less, it’s about a shift in thinking. It’s about stopping to thank the Creator for the beauty that I see every morning when I wake up. It’s about taking a moment to really listen to that friend and have a meaningful conversation. It’s about not allowing myself to feel like a failure because I’m sick and couldn’t go into work. So I’m gonna sleep a little longer, drink my coffee a little slower, and maybe watch an episode of Gilmore Girls. Or two. Or three.

Rest. Breathe. Be still. The weight of the world doesn’t rest on your shoulders.

“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.” -St. Augustine of Hippo

A not-so-little update

This blog post is a little overwhelming for me to write.

My last post was approximately three months ago…before I moved into a dorm, started college, started dating someone, started dancing again for the first time in over a year, and started drinking coffee in the afternoons like a real coffee-loving college-student.

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The past three months have been wonderful. I have already made so many memories and had so many new experiences. I’ve gone on a few adventures like hiking and swimming at 2am and road-tripping to Florida with about 100 other WinShape students. I’ve also enjoyed the little moments, like spontaneous coffee dates with new friends. Daydreaming in a hammock on lazy Saturday afternoons. Spending time with Jesus on foggy mornings with a blanket wrapped tightly around me and a cup of coffee in hand.

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Life is oh so good. But despite all the blessings and moments of bliss, this adjustment hasn’t been ALL sunshine and roses.

Coming to college has been a bit messy at times.

Like yesterday, my oatmeal exploded all over the microwave. At 8am. Before coffee.

I’ve slept through a few a lot of classes because I didn’t hear my alarm, and my lovely and patient mother wasn’t there to make sure I woke up (pathetic, I know).

I’ve experienced the serious effects of grow-out as a result of not having time or money to spend on getting my hair highlighted.

But seriously, life transitions will teach you more than you ever wanted to know about yourself. Living in close quarters with 50 girls will stretch you. Cramming for exams and meeting deadlines will push you. Managing a brand-new schedule in a brand-new place that balances school, a job, relationships, alone time, time with Jesus, and still trying to get enough sleep at night will challenge you.

And thats why writing this blog post overwhelms me. I have learned so much over the past three months that I don’t quite know where to begin. I have enough floating around in my head to write about twenty different blog posts; yet none of my ideas form complete thoughts. I have a million questions and zero answers. I’ve seen some major areas of weakness that I never noticed before. It’s the stuff that Jesus has quietly but determinedly been encouraging me to break open and lay at His feet…but I’ve avoided it because pretending that the problem doesn’t exist always seems like the easiest way to approach things at the time.

Over the summer I wrote this blog post after I had the realization that I hadn’t allowed the Lord to heal me fully from my eating disorder. I finally saw that pretending the problem didn’t exist just wasn’t working. My mind had the tendency to drift back into old thought patterns and my body certainly wasn’t functioning as it should have.

Good news: the Lord is faithful. Like, really really faithful. And really really patient. And over the summer I was able to peel back the layers of doubt and fear that had been holding me back and let Him wash me clean.

I’m erasing the periodand replacing it with a comma. No matter how difficult and how humbling it may be, I’m asking the Lord to search my heart and take me through a journey of complete healing and restoration.

I’ve never before experienced such complete freedom from my eating disorder, both mentally and physically, and I am so thankful that I can honestly claim full healing and deliverance in this present moment.

So now it’s time to tackle some other areas of my soul that are being choked out by my own fear and insecurity.

I want to learn to love like He loves.

I want to be vulnerable so that my love isn’t so “safe.”

I want to let go of the need to be perfect. 

need to let go of the belief that my worth is tied to my performance and release the paralyzing fear of being inadequate.

But then I find myself making a neat little check-list of “things to work on.” And then I tie my value and worth to how quickly and efficiently I can place a check-mark in each box.

Have I learned to love? Check.

Am I being vulnerable enough with the people that I love? Check.

Have I stopped allowing my performance to determine with worth? Check.

Have I extinguished my fear of inadequacy? Check.

I can’t actually check off anything on that list; but I would like to even though I know it shouldn’t work that way.

My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

-1 Corinthians 12:9-10

Right now I’m walking a tightrope between complacency and constant striving for perfection…although I tend to lean heavily towards the latter.

But even now, Jesus reminds me that tightrope-walking isn’t my purpose. I was created for so much more than trying to become the perfect person. I was created to be made one with the Savior. To be in constant communion with Him and to walk with Him  every day of my life. My purpose is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. He reminds me that simply by spending time with Him I am becoming more like Him; being sanctified has nothing to do with me and everything to do with Him.

And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all…For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

-Hebrews 10:10 and 14

It’s time to be sensitive to the things He is teaching me and allow Him to touch the parts of me that I would like to keep hidden. But it’s also time to throw away my “how to be a better person” check-list and just let him do the dirty work. Because He wants to. Because He loves to. Because He loves me enough to die in order that I don’t have to live according to a check-list anymore. 

My blog posts are usually very organized, heavily edited, and adhere to one specific topic or issue, so I apologize for the random nature of today’s ramblings. But life is messy and if my blog is going to be an accurate reflection of my life…well…it might be a bit messy at times.

Beautiful, but messy.

Happy Wednesday 🙂