The only time I don’t need to be entertained is when I’m sleeping. Even then, if I don’t want my sleep to be boring I’ll eat a fish burrito, which guarantees crazy exciting dreams.
I have a need for entertainment—not just movies or music, but the personal desire to be involved in something most of the time. It didn’t really strike me until I realized I was talking on the phone, with the TV on, while on the Internet and eating the aforementioned burrito.
It occurred to me that I needed to slow down the pace of my life—one thing at a time, only one source of media at a time, and not combining other activities with eating. I’d be dang near Amish compared to my “Everything, All the time” approach.
Less stress and more simplicity tend to improve one’s life, so theoretically I’d be enjoying life more.
I couldn’t help but think of “Be still, and know that I am God.” Literally billions of sermons have been preached on this idea and the application usually turns into a series of steps to eliminate distraction from one’s life. Because, after all, how can one meditate on the things of God when the housewives of one sort or another are serving up some serious drama? And doesn’t God deserve more than just halftime of an important game? (Those were cliché on purpose by the way.)
Really though, I’m not still enough physically and, worse than that, I’m not still enough in my soul.
I can sit still if I force myself, but stilling my mind and heart requires a serious examination of exactly who God is. Given my saturation by so many things that distract me from God, stillness could only disclose how out of priority some things in my life are. And if I were still for very long some would probably turn into many.
I could go be a farmer in order to simplify my life. Put on a pair of overalls, buy a tractor, plant some tomacco, and whittle things on the porch in the evenings, but if I’m not going to be purposeful it’ll be wasted.
External distraction is a problem, don’t get me wrong, but a person can be very busy and still be serious about their stillness before God.
I think recognizing my distractions pointed out something more important. I tend to get disconnected from God, notice a dryness creeping into the soul, and then counteract that with external stimuli. It doesn’t work, so I add more things. Those things aren’t necessarily bad – more reading, more volunteering, more podcasts, and so on. Then I see that it hasn’t worked and something is still out of balance.
It would have been a lot simpler if I would have simply been intentionally still before God.
Maybe it’s because I like to do things and I don’t have a way of doing stillness – it’s just kind of being still. And being still requires a lot of effort because of all of the things that have to be put down.
The last part of the be still verse says, “I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
That’s a pretty good reason to be still. And, yes, I co-opted the first part from its exegetical meaning, but if being still is for knowing/exalting God its importance to the individual is huge.
If knowing God and being still go together, I’d better get busy with slowing down.
*Photo credit: bark