Monday, March 4, 2013

Be Still

Be Still.

When was the last time you were actually still? (Not counting when you're asleep, of course.)

It isn't easy to be still. To not move. Not think. Not make to-do lists in your head, or rerun that annoying song from the 80's that is stuck in your head. Not to turn on YouTube and mindlessly watch videos of salsa-dancing chihuahuas. Not to surf Facebook - pretending to be still - but actually spying on your friends and wondering why they watch Duck Dynasty.


For people who are naturally gregarious, people who are "driven," have ADHD, the "Type A's"  and those with extroverted tendencies, being still can be a real challenge. For those of us who are naturally introverted, being still may come easier. (Please note: Introverts aren't shy, they just recharge by being alone, as opposed to extroverts who recharge better in a crowd or at a party. It has to do with our emotional energy levels.) Yet, we ALL need to occasionally disengage from whatever it is that makes us so busy, and become still.

Jesus was an expert at this. I believe Jesus was an introvert. If you look through the Gospels, you will find that in every single one, the writer reports that Jesus went off by himself. 

"When Jesus hear what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place." Matt. 14:13

"Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place where he prayed." Mark 1:35

"Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples found him..." Luke 9:18

"Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself." John 6:15

Naturally, since Jesus was off by himself, none of the disciples or Gospel writers were witness to what transpired in those solitary places. I have to think that Jesus was an introvert and He spent time alone, being still, and praying in order to re-energize himself for the ministry tasks that were inevitably coming up in the next few days.

Peter, on the other hand, strikes me as more of an extrovert. Always wanting to plow ahead, to jump in with the right answer, to DO something, Peter only paused for prayer when he was reminded to do so. And yet, in Acts 1:12-14, Peter and the others "went upstairs to the room where they were staying...they all joined together constantly in prayer." Extroverts can pause and become still when the situation requires it.

Susan Cain, an author and speaker, says "Solitude matters. And for some people, it is the air that they breathe."
Be still. Don't put it on your calendar for next Tuesday, just do it. Right now.
Close your eyes.
Breathe in. Breathe out. Repeat.
Be still.

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