Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Discipline of Stillness

Image credit Jim Nix / Nomadic Productions on Flickr
"Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah." ~ Psalm 4:4 NASB

The other night, my seven year old told me it was hard to fall asleep.  "My mind just keeps going and going."  Yep, I know the feeling.  I also look at her incessant tapping, bouncing or mouth noises and recognize my own constant finger movements.  We just seem to be wired to move and do and think and multi-task and...

I believe that one of the blessings of motherhood is stillness.  Not just theirs, although with four little ones I certainly welcome those rare and fleeting moments, too.  But ours, as well.  It sounds ridiculous, but it is absurdly difficult for me to take advantage of the quiet moments and be still myself.  I check out mentally and start thinking of all the things that need to get done.  I feel compelled to do something.  But what if I am just supposed to be?

Breastfeeding provides lots of opportunities to sit down with my baby that I would be tempted to bypass otherwise.  Even then, though, I tend to be talking with the older kids, surfing on my phone, watching TV or otherwise mentally disengaging from what I am actually doing.  I suspect that that is one of the reasons that I have been blessed with four little ones who wake the second I put them down.  Less temptation leave them in order to clean or cook or whatever, and more opportunities to meditate, to pray, to be aware.

I am convinced that there is something very valuable to be found if we engage in the discipline of stillness.  I haven't found it all yet, but I am getting closer.  I am playing on my phone less, and breathing in the scent of my baby's hair more.  I am trying to say less in my mind and listen more.  And it is very, very hard.  I am not even sure of exactly what I am listening for, but I know it is important.  Perhaps what I hear isn't even the point--just the stillness, the listening, and the awareness.

I don't want to wish away a single second of the time God has given me with my family, trying to hurry my children into the next stage of independence.  I want to enjoy this moment.  Wherever I am, I want to be all there.  To not have my mind going someplace else, but to be fully present.  To stop moving and for just that moment, be still. 

"Wherever you go, be all there.  Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God." ~ Jim Elliot

Image credit Windsors Child on Flickr


Betsy B. Honest said...

Hilarious -- I agree with you completely but just posted the polar opposite post!

dulce de leche said...

LOL. I LOVED your post, Betsy! Yours was so, so true. Parenting really is a balancing act, isn't it? :)