There is a stillness under the wide clear sky and golden sun, when the world slows and you become profoundly aware of every rock and tree, the beating of your heart, the play of wind….and the Presence of God around and underneath. That’s what I love best about the wide open spaces of the West. The trick is to find that place of stillness when you get back to the everyday and face the crazy-ness that is work and household and family and your own well-being, when you find yourself so crowded with the stuff of life you wonder if it might crowd the Life right out of you.
And before I know it I am cooking butter-laden “comfort food,” eating streusel coffee cake for breakfast, watching movies too late at night, and shopping online while I keep working harder to get everything done….grabbing onto anything that can dim the roar for a moment of peace. A person’s soul can get spun dizzy and frantic on this merry-go-round and long for a place to rest. Surprising how easy it is to forget where peace comes from, and how naturally we turn to the things around us for comfort. Peace comes quietly and unannounced when you just stop it all, and sit still in the presence of Jesus, when you look around at the world He has made and marvel at grace. Just ask the much-maligned Martha of Bethany and her sister Mary (Luke 10:40-42). It’s when you take the time to stand still in His presence that the uproar inside stills, and there is space to breathe deep. Jesus said it was the only necessary thing, and that its benefits would last into Forever.
We’ve been talking about how so much of the walk of faith has to do with our focus, and here it is again– the busier I am, the easier my thoughts fly everywhere and focus on the To Do lists, but the busier I am, the more my soul needs to stand still a moment and focus on Jesus, to find peace. His peace is right there, and He invites us in constantly. “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” (Isaiah 26:3) It’s only my distracted and diseased soul that pulls me away to focus on my efforts, my worries, my needs, my thin substitutions of peace-for-the-moment…as if it were up to me to find all the solutions, when what I really need is to trust.
So I am re-reminding myself of Truth this day: slowing down to read the verses stuck to my fridge, listening to the songs that turn my heart towards Who He Is, counting the gifts of grace I see…my heart and mind standing still. “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7) It’s the only way I’ll keep standing at all.
“The more I seek You,
The more I find You;
The more I find You, the more I love You.
I wanna sit at Your feet,
Drink from the cup in Your hand,
Lay back against You and breathe, feel your heart beat.
This love is so deep, it’s more than I can stand;
I melt in Your peace– it’s overwhelming” (The More I Seek You, Kari Jobe)
“…the only way to have a peace that passes all understanding is to pass by all that doesn’t let you stand close under the arm of Peace Himself…” (Ann VosKamp)