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.
Jesus, 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.
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