This week's blog was written by Theresa Adams, a wife and mother who loves to tap dance.
The other night my little family of four trooped down to the beach in search of a sunset. And sunset we got. God did not disappoint. His handiwork was all over the sky and the water reflecting below. As we sat, okay my husband and I sat while our boys bouldered and climbed, gazing on His Glory there was a Heron not far away. It was so still it almost looked as though it had been placed there by a sculptor for our viewing pleasure. The sun was behind it just so that it was a still silhouette unmoving yet full of grace. As the sun continued to dip and the horizon played with yellows and pinks, still the Heron stood. It paid no attention to the voices calling out in loud delight (our kids) nor to the never ending bark of the delighted dog in the surf (not ours). It simply just was. Whether it was asleep, getting ready to eat, or also admiring the view, I'll never know. But, what I do know is that I could learn a thing of two from the Heron. I could learn how to "just be" amidst the countless distractions and chaos of the world around me. I could find out how to still be full of grace even as the circumstances around me shift and swirl.
A verse that is often read on well-meaning magnets and wall hangings is Psalms 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God." Synonyms of the word, still include motionless, stationary, immobile. "Rooted to the spot, as if turned to stone." That would lead us to believe that "being still" is a passive state requiring very little of us. I am pretty sure that those of us who've gone through any season requiring us to be still know that the act of being still is a very involved and engaging place to be. To intentionally choose to "just be" in the season you are in. To not look ahead to what is next and to not be fill up the present. There is nothing passive about guarding your time or safekeeping the now. Maybe it's just me, but I find being still a difficult place to be. In this fast-paced-busy-is-best-time we find ourselves living in it almost goes against our nature. It certainly goes against our culture.
This particular season of being still that I find myself in is new to me. Both of my boys, whom I've stayed home with since they were born, are now in school full-time. It's something I've long anticipated, but now that it's upon me I'm not quite sure how to navigate it. I am continually met with questions and comments such as "What are you going to do with all of your spare time? Are you going to be getting a job? Wow, that must be so nice!" Yes, it is nice, okay some days is downright lovely, but the thing is I don't have an answer to those other questions. And that is by design. But at times, when peppered by inquiring minds, I can forget the intentionality behind not knowing. And at times whether it's my insecurity or the fear of being looked down on for not having a plan or because I'm not able to satisfy other people's curiosity I can forget that my security isn't in what I do or don't do. I can get amnesia about where my identity lies. It's then when I'm misplacing my identity, which I start to justify my choices, or I elaborate on what I do with my time. Anyone?
The thing that I have to preach to myself time and time again is that my identity is rooted in what God has said who I am in Christ. It doesn't matter what anyone else says. Even well-meaning friends or dearly loved family doesn't get to decide who I am. When you are in a season of being still whether you are there due to a self-induced prescription while learning the art of saying "no" or whether you are there because that is where God has placed you, and you don't know for what reason or for how long, it's almost as if you have to get used to the silence.
You need time to grow accustomed to the pace or rather a lack of. To slow your thinking from constantly looking ahead and re-learn how to look at the now with fondness and thanksgiving. To remember that who you are has worth. No matter what you do. No matter how much you make. Regardless of where you live or what you study or how you score. No matter how full or free, your calendar is. Our identity and our security are not tethered to what we do or don't do.
If I could imagine what that Heron had running through his or her mind as it stood there on the beach, I suppose it wasn't much. I don't suppose it was preoccupied with its identity as a Heron being linked to his movement. I don't think it cared whether others thought it was insignificant because it wasn't busy being busy and I don't believe it was thinking ahead to the next season of life and how it couldn't wait to be done standing on that rock. I am fairly certain it wasn't even making a plan for how to get off of that rock. It simply just was where it was. Easier said than done, but let's not rush past it or dismiss it.
Let's try, rather, to embrace the in-between. Look to being still as a gift of rest or quiet or refreshment. No matter why you end up there or no matter how long you find yourself there I hope that you, and me, can find enjoyment in simply being still.