letting yourself "just be"


I struggle to be still, I always have. I can recall being in the 8th grade, sitting in my world history class, at my desk, legs crossed and my top leg just bouncing. I wasn't even aware that I was bouncing my leg until my history teacher abruptly walked over to me and grabbed my leg. Without missing a beat or even pausing her lecture on ancient Greece she communicated through her death stare that I had stomped on the last nerve she had left and if I wanted to live to see another day I needed to dial back my energy. To make matters worse I flush red and my ears burn hot when I am embarrassed, I was a glowing beacon in the landscape of the Peloponnesian War. I was horrified and can still feel the embarrassment nearly 35 years later. If I were a child growing up today no doubt I would be on Ritalin, if ever there were a case for ADHD, I was that case.

Admittedly I have gotten better as an adult, at least now I am acutely aware of my own inability to sit still, or to "just be." But I still struggle, not so much because I'm a hyperactive kid sitting through a long school day but because I'm mom to a full house and there is always something that needs to be done. Heck, even when I am caught up I still waste my time with mindless scrolling on social media- being still is hard work! But it is worth learning.

I can't help but to acknowledge the connection between my struggle to be still and my feelings of questioning, always questioning God's will for me. You see, I am also an impatient person too. I ask for guidance and His will to be revealed to me, then I busy myself, always busy, and I wonder why I have no clue what God is saying to me. You see, I'm slowly coming to realize that if I want to know His will, I have to pray for guidance and then I have to be still and give Him a chance to respond! It's a two way relationship, ha! All these years I have behaved as though it were one way, me doing all the blabbing, crying, praying and bargaining with the silly expectation that He would just make things right or drop a neon sign in my lap to illuminate my path. Gosh, I can think of friendships I have had that were one sided, they rarely work so why would a relationship with God work when one of us is doing all the blabbing with the expectation that the other one will do all the work?

Slowly I am learning, slowly I am making changes. In moments of quiet I'm not picking up my phone to scroll, but allowing myself to just be. When tempted to move to the next chore (because let's face it, there is always the next chore) I'm finding quiet pauses to connect with God. I'm learning that every moment of quiet does not have to be filled with activity or conversation.

I'm slowly changing my monologue with God to a dialogue with Him. I'm spending less time telling God what I need from Him and more time asking God "what would you like to tell me today?"

The results have been encouraging. I don't claim to consistently have clearly defined interactions with Him, but I do have moments where I feel his nudging or in the quiet moments notice something I would have easily overlooked. I find God in these moments, even when it's just a quiet calm and I realize I am never alone, He is always there. I suspect it is like most things, I will improve with practice and patience and it is definitely worth it.

Do you struggle with this issue? I'd love to hear how you are managing it.