I’m the type of person that if the world tells me I can’t do something, I prove to the world that I can.
“Your asthma might make it difficult for you to do strenuous exercise…”
“HA! I’m going to run every day.”
“You wouldn’t be able to do that, you’re shy…”
“HA! Just watch me.”
I’ve spent my entire life in continuous momentum – planning, doing, pushing, striving, working extra hard for what I want. Trying to overcome obstacles. Triumphing over challenges. When I encountered a, “No,” I pushed harder. Don’t take no for an answer. Inactivity is considered weakness. Stillness is being lazy.
And then I began to encounter periods in my life of suffocating inactivity and immobility in which I could not run away from. It was completely out of my control. Why won’t this project get off the ground faster? Why can’t I get to where I want to be in life? Why isn’t it happening when I want it to? Why am I the only one still behind in life?
I began to realize that the insane amount of energy and work I invested in my dreams and goals was not a guarantee of immediate success. I was not always going to be in control of everything that happened in my life and I needed to learn that it was ok to simply sit and wait in the stillness. To be patient. I am not always good at being patient.
Why Do We Avoid Stillness?
Sometimes it feels like the world values most those who are constantly busy, constantly achieving success, and doing it very quickly. We seem to have forgotten about the principle of long-term, careful, and diligent work. What ever happened to slow and steady wins the race? Somewhere along the way we have learned to devalue stillness; we feel uncomfortable in silence.
“God is the friend of silence. Trees, flowers, grass grow in silence. See the stars, moon, and sun, how they move in silence.” ~ Mother Teresa
Sometimes inaction – I prefer to think of it as resting and contemplating – is just as important as action. Sitting in stillness doesn’t mean that you give up on your dreams or goals. It just means you recognize that not everything in your life can be controlled. And there is freedom in accepting that – freedom to allow God to work in your life in unexpected ways.
“Be still, and know that I am God! ~ Psalm 46:10
Silence and stillness provide a way for your heart to become more receptive and open to God speaking to you. Those moments can help you reassess where you are and where you’re headed. As your limits are tested, you will grow and be strengthened in God’s presence, realizing that you are capable of much more than you thought possible.
I still believe in working hard for what you want. I affirm the fact that you must create the life you want to live. But, now I understand that is a life-long mission. Those who achieve incredible things in life have a passion that does not waver; they understand that it could take years, possibly an entire lifetime to achieve their goal. But their drive motivates them to continue on despite what feels like failure, setbacks, and people telling them that what they’re doing is a waste of time. They have a lifelong calling and work everyday towards that.
“A calling is a lifelong journey.”
Lately I have taken to carrying good ole Saint Ignatius with me while I do my work. He did amazing things in his life (uh, like starting the Society of Jesus – the Jesuits order), but it didn’t happen quickly. He was disappointed when he wasn’t able to accomplish what he had originally thought he was supposed to. But throughout his life he continued to simply work on serving Christ, being a man for others, sticking true to his convictions despite setbacks and obstacles. I use that as a reminder to myself that a calling is a lifelong journey. I get impatient at waiting. I know my calling but I don’t know all the next steps to get where I need to be. I want to do something now. I want to take action. But I have to be reminded that hasty actions are not what God asks of us. God wants us to be educated, to understand, to listen, to be patient and persevere. To simply be still in the silence; to be in the presence of God. These are the things I want to be better at.
a girl who dreams