What I've Learned From Being Terrible At Sitting Still

August 17, 2016

I've never been great at sitting still. My mom says that when I was a kid I'd leave a trail in any room I passed through -- kind of a tornado of sorts. I still feel that way about myself. Kind of a tornado that whirls through life, leaving evidence behind. Typically more of a doer than a sitter. 

When Richard died, I catapulted myself into doing. I dove head first into clubs, organizations, and events, leaving very little space for quiet and reflection (though I still managed to do some of that as well). I did this so much that I remember sometimes feeling guilty when my grief would overcome me and actually just sitting still was all I wanted to do.

I've always been the girl who keeps a full plate, having my hands in many different activities. I like busy. I like chaos. I like hustle and bustle.

Last summer when God uprooted my life and moved me to Houston, it was necessary, though I did not even realize that until I got here. At the stage of life I was in when I left Alabama (it was a great stage that I do miss dearly), I was basically like a hamster running in a wheel. I was just going and going and going. I was teaching Zumba and BodyPump 4-5 times a week, I went to small group on Monday nights, I was a youth leader on Wednesday nights, I was a steady volunteer with a local leadership organization, I was a volunteer in the children's ministry at church, I had a full time job, I served on the board of directors for a nonprofit organization and I had juuuuust started taking graduate school classes part time (slash I was also trying to maintain a healthy social life).

I was running myself ragged, living a very full and good life, but running ragged nonetheless. And there was no sign of me slowing down. 

So God intervened and sweetly and gently (and quickly) prompted me to move into this new stage of life in Houston. (You remember that story, right? Where I made the decision to move here in 2.5 weeks) To a place where I knew very few people and where I'd have to be super intentional if I wanted to get plugged into organizations and activities. I did not know a lot about the reasoning for my move to Houston at the time, but as I spent more time settling into this new life, I knew it meant that I had needed to rest.

It meant that I needed space and quiet and calmness. Something that I had not seen in years (maybe ever?). I needed to sit still. I needed to walk down quiet, tree-lined streets, and just be. 

(Let's not even talk about what God physically and literally having to move me, to get me to sit still, says about my personality.)

I have now been in Houston for almost 13 months, and I can honestly say it has been one of the best choices I've ever made (or plans I've ever followed, because hi...God). And the thing is -- I am still sitting still. I've made some really wonderful friends, have a seriously perfect job, a great church family and small group, and I'm teaching fitness 3 times a week...but that's it. I'm also reading a lot, writing, exploring Houston and watching a lot of Netflix (admittedly, this includes the same Gilmore Girls episodes over and over and over). Life isn't as schedule-packed as it was in Alabama, but it is still very full.

I've been praying a lot about what that next thing will be that I will add to my plate, but I have not received any concrete clarity quite yet. I want to be intentional with each "yes" I give, so I continue to pray and be still. And maybe "still" sounds boring to you, but I assure you, there are benefits.

I sit in my stillness and I constantly communicate with my God, praying for guidance, praying for clarity. My relationship with Him has become more intimate than it has in a long time. I feel his presence and assurance around me. I can hear Him better, I can see His path clearer, and I can genuinely rest in His plan. This seriously makes life way easier than me trying to start a bunch of trouble on my own. So much of my life is up in the air right now, and for the first time ever I'm not so focused on what is next, but truly basking in this season of right now. It is refreshing and rejuvenating and a space of rarity.

So if you are finding yourself in a space of stillness (either forced upon you, or at your choosing), or you've been wrestling with and ignoring the notion, rest in the knowledge that clarity and peace will come. It will not always be easy, and sometimes it may be confusing, and oftentimes you could get restless...but trust that it will be worth it. 

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence for my hope is in him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. -Psalms 62:5-6