What is wrong with me? Why can’t I just relax?
Have you ever asked yourself these questions? Maybe it’s just me, but I sure have. In fact, a recent family vacation forced me to deal with this issue head on in a very unexpected way.
We had been very graciously given a 3 night getaway to a family resort in the mountains which boasted of zip lines, horse back riding, an indoor water park, tubing, and the list goes on. My people couldn’t be happier. The entire drive there, I smiled and listened as they mapped out all of their upcoming adventures. Three days of non-stop fun was ALL that was on their agenda.
My agenda, however, was to relax and unwind…which for me can sometimes be easier said than done.
Upon arrival at the picturesque resort, my husband and daughter were out the door within the first 5 minutes of unloading the car, ready to dive into all of their action-packed festivities. I, on the other hand, was determined to hit the ground running on the path to relaxation and signed up right away for a yoga class thinking that would be a great way to kick off this mountain retreat.
I donned on my workout gear and jogged on over to the gym, all ready to start my vacation off stress-free and with some good exercise. However, my enthusiasm soon turned to disappointment, as the yoga instructor used the first 30 minutes of the hour-long class to TALK about the importance of relaxation. The longer she rattled on, the more frustrated I felt inside. Enough already. Let’s quit talking and get moving, I impatiently thought. She finally got around to stretching for the last 20 minutes of the session, but by that time I was anything but relaxed.
Later that evening, I had to laugh at the irony that I went to a yoga class to relax but ended up getting stressed out because it was too focused on relaxation and didn’t accomplish anything that was on my agenda.
As I continued to think about the whole yoga debacle, Psalm 46:10 began to echo in my mind:
Be still and know that I am God.
And as the words seeped into my heart, I realized that still was the last thing I had been since the moment we had arrived. And the more I thought about it I couldn’t help but wonder if perhaps my inability to relax had nothing to do with a yoga class gone wrong and everything to do with a complete disconnect with what it means to be still. Perhaps I needed more than a relaxing mountain retreat—I needed a change of heart.
So, right there on the balcony of the condo that evening, I decided to put aside any agenda for the next two days and allow God to direct my heart. And here is what He began to show me in the still:
- Being still is not about a time or place—it’s about my heart. Oftentimes, I have no problem quieting my heart and being still before God. Each morning I awaken before my family so that I can spend some quiet, uninterrupted, still moments with God. But as soon as I close my Bible I can ferociously dive into my day and leave that stilled heart in the dust. Carrying a stilled heart throughout the day is a conscious choice. When I allow myself to get aggravated, impatient, and worked up, I am choosing to let the emotions of my heart to run rampant rather than the Ruler of my heart to reign supreme.
- Being still is recognizing that He is God, and I am not. When I take the time to look within myself, most of the things that aggravate me do so because I am not in control. What would happen if I quit trying to be the one in control and truly allowed God to be the One who ordained my steps? I’m thinking I would be a whole lot less anxious and much more at peace if I would let go and allow Him to be the One in charge.
- Being still is salve for a weary soul. We run. We strive. We achieve. We push through. And somewhere in the frenzy, we can lose touch of what it means to rest, to breathe, and to take care of our souls. It’s like we wear “crazy busy” as a badge of honor, but if the truth be known walking in the still is far more honorable than frantically racing in the chaos. For it is in the still that we can steady our minds and soothe our souls, making us better equipped to handle all the moments we face in life.
Weeks have gone by since our trip to the mountains, but the lessons learned still challenge my heart. I’m sure there will be many more times that I will need to be reminded to quiet my anxious heart, but TODAY I will slow down and choose to embrace the still. For when I turn away from the noise of life, I find PEACE, and when I step into the still, I find GOD.