And my response is usually "when?". As in "when will I have time to be still?"
The message has seemed especially insistent lately, and has combined with other... well, I suppose the best word to use would be "signs".
I think God might be trying to tell me something.
Friends have told me how I need to go camping, get out in the woods, be alone with nature.
Magazines and websites, television shows and movie trailers - all seem to be echoing the same message.
Stories of friends & co-workers repeat the same directive.
And then I was. For just a moment.
A few nights ago, I had the unusual circumstance of being home alone for the entire evening. Jena was spending the night at my parents' house, Jason was on boat patrol.
I had a raucous night of catching up on household chores and packing for vacation planned for myself.
And, as usual, I turned on the television and pulled up streaming Netflix to choose something to watch in the background while in viewing area, and in between other chores when I had to leave viewing area.
Because I actually hate to be alone. So the television and Tucker become my company, keeping me from hearing every squeak & scratch, keeping me from being certain someone is breaking in.
When I pulled up Netflix, I started toward my usual sitcom, the 30 minute bits perfect for chores. Nothing you have to pay too close attention to, built-in breaks every 10 minutes to keep you from getting too engrossed and keep you on your path to productivity.
But there it was. Staring at me. "Eat Pray Love". I'd wanted to watch this movie when it was in the theatres, but never did. And it had been in my queue since it was available on Netflix. But I'd never watched it.
Screw the sitcom. I'm watching my movie.
I honestly didn't know a whole lot about the movie. I knew it was about a woman who got divorced and decided to go on a trip around the world to discover herself. And Julia Roberts was the star. That was about it.
Well, if you've seen the movie, then I think you know that the "Be Still" message is infused throughout.
That movie spoke to me.
But I still did my chores. Folding laundry on the living room floor. Straightening the kitchen. Getting the next load of laundry ready. Pausing it between scenes when necessary.
Luckily our open floor plan allows me to do a great deal still in view of the television.
I did I-don't-even-know how many loads of laundry. More than five. Washed the dishes. Took out the garbage. Cleaned the kitty litter. Packed my bag for vacation. And so many more odds & ends.
And then, somewhere in Bali, after finishing folding yet another load of laundry, I pulled myself up onto the couch, remote in hand, to wait for the next end-of-scene moment so I could pause it and begin my next task.
And there, on my couch, somewhere in Bali... I relaxed.
I put the remote down.
I stopped thinking about all I had to do.
My mind simultaneously melded into movie-script and drifted into nothingness, then veered into its own thoughts and back again.
But... calmly. Relaxedly, if there is such a word.
And there, on my couch, somewhere in Bali... I realized that I don't remember the last time I just sat down to watch television, the last time I just sat down, just to... sit down, the last time I let my mind wander so aimlessly.
I don't even remember the last time I did that.
Sure, I sit on my couch. Sure I watch television. But it's always during household chores, or a break in-between chores, or sometimes I'm catching up on emails and text messages and Facebook, and all the time wondering how much I'm gonna get done, and how much will still be left to do.
On infrequent occurrences, the most relaxed couching I get is when Jason & I sit down to watch a movie after Jena has gone to bed. Which is nice, don't get me wrong.
But my ears are always open for sounds of Jena stirring, as she always seems to know when we're having fun without her. My mind is on Jason, so no aimless wandering. And more than once I've been so tired I fell asleep during the movie.
But to just... be? To just relax, and let myself be?... I don't even remember...
But I did that night.
Not forever. Not even for very long. I don't think. I'd guess 30 minutes or less.
But in those few moments... I felt like I found something.
In a few moments of nothing, it felt like I found everything.
I think... I re-learned how to Be Still.
And something inside me tells me that in this mindset to Be Still, I may just find the answer to the problems I've been facing.
So my new goal, is to have more moments to Be Still.
Be it once a week. Heck, once a month would be a good start. To forget the to-do list, forget the stresses of work, forget the troubles of parenting a toddler, the juggles of being a working mom, the tensions that might be in my marriage... let it all go for just a few moments, and just Be Still.
"It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD." -- Lamentations 3:22-26