“There’s a big difference between stillness and doing nothing.” – Mr.Han, The Karate Kid (2010).
I love that.
You see, in a culture where multitasking is seen as an admired skill and where more and more people choose not to use their accumulated vacation, setting aside time for rest and stillness can be viewed as a waste of time. Sitting around, taking a nap, enjoying a drive, getting back to reading, writing, blogging and reflecting, can be interpreted as time poorly spent. Who has time for such things? After all, in a society where ‘time is money’, being able to see the value of ‘stillness’ becomes increasingly difficult.
My experience has been that these cultural norms of constant moving, doing, and working are incomplete notions. The belief that ‘doing more is better’ is a myth. There are seasons in life when the best thing you can do is to take time to be still.
Being still should not be mistaken for doing nothing. Laziness is not next to godliness. However, there should be moments when you do just that. Your mind and body need rest and relaxation, so you need to take some time to lay back.
My wife often says that our annual Spring vacation on some Caribbean island is the only time she truly feels rested. There are no immediate concerns. Food and drinks are always available; no housecleaning responsibilities; no work related obligations; no traffic; just seven days of rest and rejuvenation. I have to agree with her. These times are very important and we all need to incorporate them into our lives. However, it doesn’t have to be on a beach in Mexico. It could just as easily be at a friend’s cottage, on a quiet lake. Location is not nearly as important as position and posture.
I believe that being still is just as important, if not more important, than doing. Appreciating these moments of liminal space, where you have no agenda, can be the threshold of new beginnings. In his article Guidance from God, Rob Des Cotes explains that liminality is a time of incubation. Though it may feel directionless, it can for that very reason be the most important part of the process. For in these moments, you have finally created the time to find a new or renewed sense of purpose.
These episodes should never be rushed. Patience is key here. As Rob reflects, we may be tempted to chase after every wind if we allow our anxieties to get the better of us, but that will lead us nowhere. It is a process that can’t be rushed and is different for every person. Whether it lasts a week, month, or longer, learning to rest and be still in God’s care is absolutely essential. In fact, these moments of ‘stillness’ are often the breading ground for new beginnings that create a renewed sense of direction and purpose. And, it can sometimes lead to a new sense of self and identity in God.
Jesus’ time in the desert before the beginning of His public ministry, or the moments He spent away from the crowds to be alone and pray; the 120 disciples in the upper room in Jerusalem waiting for God’s promise; or Paul’s three years in Arabia before his ministry began, are all examples of the importance and value of being ‘still’.
As you journey through life, take some time in the midst your busyness to practice ‘stillness’. Allow God to lead you there and don’t be tempted to rush through it because you get impatient with the process. Sit back, relax, breathe, pray, read, sleep. Watch God work as you rest in Him. Don’t confuse stillness with doing nothing, and find rest and hope in inactivity. Something new may be just around the corner…so wait for it.
May Jesus always be the Center of everything.
Jesus is absolutely in the middle
If you want to know who God is, look at Jesus
If you want to know what it means to be human, look at Jesus
If you want to know what love is, look at Jesus
If you want to know what grief is, look at Jesus
And keep on looking until you’re not just a spectator, but you’re actually part of the drama which has him as its central character.
Here is a great short post from Greg Boyd as well to add to the video above.
Eight arguments for the reality of the resurrection. Share widely!
He is risen! Has has risen indeed!