The Art of Being Still

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Some people are known for their laid back personalities-I am NOT one of these people.  I live my life at one speed, mach 7.  I am always on the move, even when I’m at home, because I want to be so efficient that not one moment of my day is wasted.  Proverbs 31:27 (She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness) had become my modus operandi.  This quality makes for a hard worker but is not helpful when trying to learn the art of being still.  I have always wanted to be a little more like Mary but Martha is usually the one I exemplified in my everyday life.

It wasn’t until about 6 months ago that I really started to see the need to “be still”.  One Friday in June, I came home from a busy day only to be faced with more that had to be done.  I started to cry and pray-all I remember saying was “God, I don’t know where to start”.  At that very moment, I heard a still, small voice say,”Start with Me”, and for once I listened.  I walked past all the things that needed to be done and I sat down and started to read and pray.  I don’t remember what I read or what I prayed that day but what I do remember is the feeling of peace that I had when I stood up from my desk.  The amount of work to be done hadn’t changed, but I had.  That was the beginning of my journey and it has not been an easy one.  The first time I decided to carve out a few hours of my day to pray, read, and most importantly, be still, I felt very much like a square peg trying to squish myself into a round hole.  I had always spent time reading and praying but this was different, I was intentionally making time to listen to what God wanted to say.  For those who know me well, you probably doubt my ability to remain in a stationary position for any length of time but I did it.  Over the next few months, I continued to be incredibly busy but I was beginning to see the need and benefit of these times of stillness.  I even began to choose these times of stillness over other activities that I had previously enjoyed during my spare time.  These times of stillness don’t happen every day but they are happening more and more frequently because I not only see the need for them, I crave them.  During these times of stillness with God, I read His Word, I pray and, most importantly, I show up with an open heart and listening ears.  One of my favorite quotes from Brother Lawrence is, “The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer, and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquility as I were on my knees at the blessed sacrament”.  To be still at all times is my desired destination, I realize that it won’t be easy but I feel like this is a journey God has called me to take.   I’m learning, slowly but surely: I even took my first mini sabbatical a few weeks ago where I checked into a hotel for one night and just spent time with God.  As I sat, all alone, in a quiet hotel room I thought how very unJaclyn-like I was being.  But that is the point of this journey, I want to be less like Jaclyn and more like Christ.   After all, He modeled “being still” better than anyone.

Jaclyn Williams

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