Pursuing Stillness

finding peace

“Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

I don’t always follow this command very well.

I feel like I always need to be doing something. I rush around, cleaning, working out, doing homework…basically anything that can serve as a distraction for me. Even when I take Molly (my fam’s dog) on walks, I listen to podcasts or music. I find that I avoid stillness.  I am tempted to put off prayer in favor of doing things that seem more productive.

Yet, this is what is idealized in our society today. Workaholics are praised. Those who never take the time to rest are held in esteem. We are constantly being told that we are not enough and we must give more.

I will never forget something I read last semester while studying St. John Paul II. I was reading JPII’s biography by George Weigel and came across a section where JPII was described as never giving a task more time than it deserved. He focused on the task at hand, giving it the attention it needed, then moved on.

I am such a perfectionist. I run around in a frenzy, obsessing over things that are not important. I definitely spend way more thought and effort on things than I should. I worry about so many things.

I can really relate to Martha in today’s Gospel. Martha felt the demands of the world. She was anxious about small details, wanting everything to be perfect. She felt that she needed to be constantly working, doing, serving.

Jesus tells her to be still and to be more like her sister, Mary.

“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her” (Luke 10: 41-42).

We pursue so many different things in the hope that they will bring us fulfillment. We run around like crazy people because it is what seems normal today. In America esepcially, we forget the value of stillness.

There is only one thing that is important. There is only one thing that can bring us happiness.

Only He can help us.

Find the time to be with Him. Find the time not to “do,” but to “be.”

Be with Him. Love Him.

He is the only thing that matters. It a world that tells us to be like Martha, let us learn to live more like Mary.

Here’s a great prayer to help us strive to be more like Mary:

Dear God,
Speak gently in my silence.
When the loud outer noises
of my surroundings,
and the loud inner noises
of my fears
keep pulling me away from you,
help me to trust
that you are still there
even when I am unable
to hear you.
“Come to me,
all you who are
overburdened,
and I will
give you rest…
for I am gentle
and humble
of heart.”
Let that
loving voice
be my guide.
Amen.
Fr. Henri J.M. Nouwen

 

 


One thought on “Pursuing Stillness

  1. Just found this my darling granddaughter! Great wisdom. I have that verse….”Be still and know that I am God” on the wall in my dining room which is my quiet time space for “Being still” . Love you….. Mimi

    Like

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