Thursday, June 8, 2023

The Healing of Stillness


By: Donna Bucher

With the hectic schedules most people keep three-quarters of the year, I wonder at the propensity to fill the summer calendar with activities. Are we so addicted to busyness we fear an empty calendar?

Some of my fondest childhood summer memories contain stillness.

I vividly remember laying in the soft, cool grass on a dazzling sunny afternoon watching the clouds with some friends. Finding pictures in the clouds, watching the bees, or sitting in the shade of a tree telling stories.

Certainly, we swam, rode bikes, fished, hiked and played handball, but stillness played a huge role in our days.

The lure of those quieter times whispers to me amid my own busy schedule.

Finding Stillness Again

Seeking God for help, yet woefully remaining perplexed, stuck in a perpetual cycle of doing became like a game of hide and seek, looking for the hidden cog necessary for everything to run smoothly again.

Enveloped in busyness, doing rather than being, led me to a place of spiritual and physical exhaustion. Seeking, asking, but not listening; until one moment God whispered “Peace, be still”.

Finding stillness again offered the balm my weary soul desperately needed. Regrettably, failing the recognition of the keen remedy to my problem, I continued searching for more “action steps” for solving my problem.

Ironically, I chose sitting outside one cool evening to think through options, when the beauty of the evening, distant bird songs and a cool breeze arrested my attention.

Closing my eyes to breathe more of it in, a profound peace and calmness pervaded my whole being.

The intoxication of it kept me still and quiet for a long time.

As I ended my time with an empty sheet of paper and moved indoors, savoring the feast my senses enjoyed moments earlier, the Lord tenderly enlightened me.

Rather than abiding in Him (John 15:4-5) especially seeking times of stillness, my pursuits involved more "doing".

Practicing Stillness

Certainly, abiding in Christ implies a settled trust in His sovereign control and purposes, resulting in fruit-filled actions. 

At other times, abiding holds the same trust in Christ’s sovereignty and control but plays out in stillness.

Losing my way opened my eyes to a shift in my perspective from implicit abiding to relentless action compelled by performance.

Focusing on my responsibility for all outcomes moved me from abiding to controlling which almost always involves excessive “activity”.

Energized by the unexpected delight of my impromptu outing, continuing pursuits of stillness showered me with refreshment and healing.

Feeding my soul through conversations with the Lord, fostered the idea of breathing through the Psalms.

Practicing mindfulness in this way, not only shifts my perspective from self-sufficiency to God-dependency but nourishes my soul with the living Word of God.

Try this easy mindfulness meditation using Psalm 46:10 for practicing the art of stillness.

Be Still

As with all mindfulness practices, making a calm transition from the atmosphere of busyness and activity to the atmosphere of stillness enhances the practice. Without a transition, your brain and central nervous system remain on the continuum of activity.

Find quiet spot with minimal opportunity for interruption; ensure your comfort and start with mindful breathing; keep your exhale longer than your inhale. For example, inhale for a count of four, exhale slowly for a count of eight.

Psalm 46:10a

  • Either out loud or silently to yourself, pray “Be still and know that I am God.”
  • Take one or two slow, even breaths. Pray, “Be still and know that I am.”
  • Take one or two slow, even breaths, Pray, “Be still and know.”
  • Continuing with one or two slow, even breaths, Pray, “Be still.”
  • Continuing with one or two slow, even breaths, Pray, “Be.”
  • Inhale deeply, exhaling through your mouth. Pray “Amen”

The Healing of Stillness

Though counter-intuitive for an over-achiever like me, “doing nothing” literally transformed my perspective, as well as my physical and spiritual well-being.

Contrary to our media-rich, performance driven society, the art of practicing stillness builds margin into our days resulting in more productivity.

Most precious of all, it affords us the pleasure of communing with God. The noise and restlessness of activity obscures His still, small voice and gentle communication.

In the place of stillness, we reconnect with beauty, we reconnect with gratitude and authenticity. Stillness is life and breath to the soul, bathing it in the living water it thrives on.

You need stillness in your life more than you know.

Find more encouragement and FREE Resources at Serenity in Suffering!


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