Cultivating Stillness

By February 24, 2016July 9th, 2020Leadership

It’s taken me way too long to get this article written. Want to know why? …Because I am way too busy!

Sometimes a simple task can get lost in the mess, and our inner-peace with it! The crazier my life gets, the more I know I need to chill. Relax. Breathe.

Our modern culture congratulates and values scheduled lifestyles. It is common knowledge that we are becoming busier in a manner that is inversely proportionate to the technology invented with the intention of making our daily burdens lighter. Many people view being busy as a sign of success, or value. So, how do we pursue peace in a world that often leaves us spinning without making it just another addition to our ever-growing to-do lists?

Am I busy for the right reasons?

I try to remind myself that if God has a plan for my life, He has a plan for how I spend my days. Ephesians 2:10 says that there are good works that God has prepared for us in advance. If he’s prepared stuff for me to do, I think I need to leave a little room on my plate for that.

Which brings me to rest. I try to make it a conscious effort to be strategic in my busyness. I ask myself certain questions when taking on a new task or responsibility.

Do I really need or want to do this thing that I have committed to do? Is it beneficial to my life? Does it go towards goals that I have set? How did I feel when I said yes to it – peaceful or stressed? Did I say yes to this simply because I didn’t how to say no? Am I keeping myself busy so that I don’t have to deal with deeper issues or because I don’t know how to be still?

These types of questions serve as compasses. They guide us in our choices because the answers are in the asking.

Does this task fall into a goal that I have set?

Sometimes we need to cut the fat. Busyness without a clear end goal is wasted time. It won’t build anything and it won’t add to your quality of life. Constructive tasks can be compared to cultivating a garden. It bears fruit which becomes an important part of the flavors and colors of our lives. Needless business often conflicts with this garden. It will suck our time and put weeds and thorns that keep our fruitful plants from pursuing the goals we have set in advance.

And it takes the time and the energy that we needed in order to pursue those goals.

Am I doing this because I don’t know how to sit still?

Oops. Guilty, sometimes. Sometimes we get to running and we can’t stop. The fatigues and frazzled inertia is easier to maintain than a mindful pause. But the pause is important and the stillness matters. It’s how we hear our inner voice directing us to what we were originally supposed to be doing, and hopefully (re)setting our course towards a goal that makes sense, as outlined in the points above.

But not being able to sit still is (to me) a sure sign that stillness is exactly what I need.

Am I doing this because I did not know how to say no to the person who asked me?

Learning how to say no is one of the best favors that I ever did for myself. It leaves me time that I can use to breathe, regroup and prepare for my next task. It buys me the down time that I need in order to be efficient.

Boundaries and peacefulness go hand in hand. I make a conscious effort in my life these days to cultivate stillness and I find that part of that comes with shutting out the noise. I can’t make everyone happy, and if I am true to myself I will disappoint certain people. But I can’t carry every burden and I am not Superwoman! So I have learned to chill and say no. I don’t have to book every second of every day. Because down time matters and my family matters. Sometimes saying no so I can keep a bit of empty space is just what the doctor ordered.

If you’d like to keep reading on this, check out these great resources:

Studies about peace, grace, trust and prayer.

Samantha Villenave

Samantha_VillenaveSamantha lives in Richmond, VA with her husband and her beautiful boy. She is thrilled to be able to spend her time working with church media, customers, and Women’s Ministry leaders across the country.

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