Access a Dose of PEACE in 10 Little Minutes?? Try it and see.
I have a friend who spends a month in the summer at the shore. She does it every year. Her kids come and go. Her mom comes a few times. Her husband makes a few weekend trips. But she loves the time alone. When the sun rises and spreads its sharp orange hue over the water on those early summer mornings, she likes to be there for the display. With the breeze, her body calms. That deep, sea-air inhale. Feeling the sand mold to her feet. The seashells in a band along the shoreline…all her senses awaken and she is alert to the grounding goodness of God’s creation. She has told me on more than one occasion, “This is when I sense God the most. It's these times when I experience genuine peace.”
Our minds and bodies need these times. Our souls are aching for it. God has created us to be still, undistracted, ready to receive the blessings of his creation. For most of us, self-care doesn’t come easily. Our mode is one of busyness and distraction. And It's addictive. Being quiet will stir up what we have worked hard to push down. We avoid those moments. All the while, the deep things…fear, grief, unanswered questions, unsettled relationships…they creep up, and gain power. After years and years, like the Old Faithful geyser, they push themselves out with vengeance, and hit everyone in sight. We have no idea how in need we are of good coping skills.
At first it feels unnatural, anxiety-producing, and awkward. In time, the darkness, stress, strangeness lifts…it moves out of you. Not shoved down deeper, but OUT. This is why self-reflection, self-care, meditation, prayer, confession, and simply being still matter.
Listening for the Lord to speak His good words over you...
Henri Nouwen says it best:
Solitude and silence can never be separated from the call to unceasing prayer. If solitude were primarily an escape from a busy joy, and silence primarily an escape from a noisy milieu, they could easily become very self-centered forms of asceticism. But solitude and silence are for prayer. The Desert Fathers did not think of solitude as being alone, but as being alone with God. They did not think of silence as not speaking but as listening to God. Solitude and silence are the context within which prayer is practiced.
Short stints outside, 10-20 minute walks are proven to reset us, restore our attention and focus, and allow us the margins to be more present with those around us. Mental fatigue is a real thing! After working with teenagers and families for over 20 years, I am absolutely convinced that our inability to be still and quiet is leaving us empty, fearful, overwhelmed, and unable to connect deeply with others. Even more detrimental, we have no idea how to connect with the Lord.
So here’s some homework for you! A gift I am going to invite you to receive:
Find two or three times to be quiet this next week.
Find MOMENTS of Sabbath rest.
Let your mind calm down, and listen for the Lord to remind you of his faithfulness.
Let the racing, anxious feelings MOVE OUT of you.
Try it. Give it time, it will become one of your favorite things.
Let me know how it goes!