Be still, and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)
I don’t know when it happened. Somehow, I became an adult.
How do I know this, you ask? If you’re wondering, it’s not because of my age. (The whopping, brand-spanking new age of twenty-one!) It’s not because someone told me I was. It’s not because I can drink or drive (not at the same time, of course) or vote or any of those things.
It’s actually much more simple than that: my life is busy.
Busy? I can hear some of you ask. Yes, busy. It’s full of responsibilities, worries, chores, and stress. I go to town to run an errand only to realize I have another errand to run after that, only to realize I have an e-mail to answer when I get home, only to realize I have a lesson for school to get done soon, then a friend to call and wish a happy birthday to, then a post to answer on Facebook, then an article to finish, and somewhere in there I should read my Bible, then a blog post to write, then assure my family that yes, I am still living, and maybe somewhere in all of that I’ll find a chance to eat.
Sound familiar? If so, you’re an adult. If not, you’re either much younger in years, or Lord bless you, you’re lying.
It’s a sad thing, but I think most of us do associate adulthood with worry and stress. I didn’t feel like an adult because I had a birthday or because someone told me I was all grown up. The moment I felt like an adult was when I realized how very busy I was, and realized that all those things that needed to get done rested on my shoulders alone.
It used to be my parents who got things done for me. It used to be that I didn’t have to worry, because they would take care of it. Now I think about things like: how do I get my career going so I can make enough money to support myself, and what day should I go to the bank, and is the gas tank full? None of that is bad. It’s a necessity; a part of growing up.
I think that’s what we can lose as adults if we’re not careful-just living and being fully present. We can be so focused on to-do lists and schedules, we lose sight of the miracles in every-day. Wasn’t it Jesus who said He came so He could give us life, and life to the full? I don’t think God wants just the mundane for His children. If anything, He came to give us joy through the mundane.
We’re not just supposed to survive. We were not created to worry ourselves to death, but to live in the midst of death.
I teach Sunday School for five-year-olds, and I also have a six-year-old niece. What those amazing kiddos continually teach me is to just slow down. To see beauty in simplicity, and to take joy out of the little things. To see wonder in a dandelion, or giggle until my sides hurt.
Slowing down and living in the moment doesn’t mean we suddenly abandon our responsibilities to the wind, but it does mean not letting our responsibilities run our lives, either. It is neither irresponsible nor reckless to simply rest.
In fact, it is encouraged many times in the Bible. After a long day of ministering, Jesus would often go off by himself to pray.
And who could forget Mary and Martha? But just in case you did between the errand-running, carpooling, and decision-making: “As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, ‘Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.’ But the Lord said to her, ‘My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.’” (Luke 10:39-42.)
We don’t have to be afraid of the stillness. I think once we become adults we think we’re supposed to be busy to be responsible and productive. The quiet can suddenly become scary and unnerving. But even Jesus allowed Himself some rest.
So today, if you find yourself in a never-ending blur of activity, I ask you to consider: are you afraid of being still? Sometimes busyness can be a camouflage. Doing a lot of things can make us feel productive, but it’s not the amount of things that make that so. It’s the things we’re doing.
Don’t be afraid to slow down today. Take a little break. Smell the proverbial rose. Take something from your schedule that really isn’t necessary, and most importantly, if you haven’t been still in God’s presence for a while, go and sit at His feet. Don’t miss what Martha did.
And if you’ve forgotten how, go and spend some time with your kids. They’ll be more than happy to teach you.
I Hear Ya: When did you realize you’d become an adult? What are some things you do to slow down?