sit quietly

I miss writing.  It feels like it’s been awhile since I’ve done it with any consistency, and I definitely feel the void.  I’d like to change that.

I have been doing a lot of reading lately.  For all the writing I haven’t been doing, I’ve found myself knee-deep in some really good thoughts from some pretty wise people.  One of the most recent is a little gem by Jan Johnson, called Abundant Simplicity.  It hasn’t been an easy read, by any means.  It’s been challenging and painful and thought-provoking.  If you ever find yourself thinking that life is too complex, too dramatic, too busy for your liking, you should pick up a copy and make time for it.  And if you don’t ever find yourself thinking that…you should still consider picking up a copy!

I’m starting to recognize, through the wisdom of Ms. Johnson, that I live a whole lot of my life on autopilot.  That a large chunk of my moments get spent in ways that have nothing to do with what’s important to me, what I value, my priorities.  In fact, a large chunk of my moments get spent in ways that have nothing to do with anything.  Things that aren’t serving any purpose that benefits anyone, including myself.  And yet, I remain a slave to habit.  And my habit is to fill up moments.  Fill them with anything.  Work, Facebook, television, email, my cell phone, chatter…I am an avoider of silence and stillness.  Sometimes to the point that it feels like I’m afraid to be alone with my soul.  That’s a scary feeling to me, to be honest.

I’m trying to reverse some of that, to clear my spirit of this addiction to movement and stimulation and noise.  For starters, I removed my Facebook application from my cell phone earlier this week.  I just wanted to be aware of how heavily I rely on that form of mental stimulation, because half the time I find myself browsing through it and don’t even realize it until I’ve been doing it for ten minutes.  Autopilot.

I’ll be honest, the first two days of this particular exercise, I reloaded and removed it probably three or four times.  The first time I’d get bored, I’d go install it again.  And then, in a desire to stick with this, I’d remove it again.  Until the next time I got bored, then I’d install it.  And then I’d remove it.  Rinse and repeat.

I’m getting used to it now.  Yesterday was the first full day that I didn’t reload it, and today was more of the same.

My point in all this? In my heart of hearts, I know that I don’t want to look back at the end of my life and see that I spent the bulk of my life on autopilot, engaged in activities that serve little more purpose than to clutter up my soul.  The past two days, as I’ve been spending more time intentionally being inside my own head and heart, something strange has occurred to me.  I feel more at peace.  Less restless.  More calm.  More willing and able to listen for the whisper of a still small Voice, one that’s been speaking all along.

I kept thinking yesterday about how frustrating it is to me when my students speak over me when I’m trying to tell them something important.  In fact, I refuse to do it.  I silence myself and wait until they’re listening.  I will not attempt to speak over a cacophony of voices, not when I know what I have to say is important.  And the worst part is that I know they need to hear what I have to say.

Sometimes I wonder if God feels precisely that way in communication with me.  Okay, kid.  I’ve got a lot to say, and I know you need to hear it…but you refuse to shut off all the other voices, everything else that’s drowning me out.  I wish you’d sit quietly for a minute, so I can give you what you need, so I can tell you who I am, and who you are, and what I’m dying to do through you.  I wish you’d sit quietly for a minute.

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