Echoing in my expressed longing for stillness on here a few weeks ago was a chord that has been resounding in my life for a while: the idea of simplicity. And then, by natural connection, the idea of busyness. The two can be enemies, but they don’t have to be. The reality is, though, that the number of filled physical hours in my life recently has forced me into a new search for stillness and simplicity within and surrounding those hours. To characterize all I do, I hope. I’ve been challenged by scriptures that call me to different definitions of simplicity and rest. I’ve been moved by songs that speak into this reality. I’ve been reading books focused around these themes, some without even realizing it. And I’ve found myself seeking out relationships and resources that push and encourage me in these pursuits. Because honestly, stillness is not something we’re very good at. Not in our society, not in our churches, not in our hearts.
Be still my soul: the Lord is on thy side
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain
Leave to thy God to order and provide
In every change, He faithful will remain
Be still my soul: thy best, thy heavenly friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end
I remember distinctly the first time I heard these words. I was a freshman in college, it was the Sunday evening at the end of October break, and I had just returned from my first epic, independent, adult adventure with three friends. We borrowed my dad’s forest green CRV and drove up into the mountains of Vermont, where the first backpacking trip I ever planned and led went wrong from the start as we obliviously and joyfully hiked off the wrong side of the road and down the trail in the wrong direction. Needless to say, campsites not being in the location they were supposed to be made our mistake quickly evident in the approaching darkness. Unfettered, we made camp on the side of the trail, piled four girls into a two man tent because there was no space for another one, and decided to embrace the moment and keep walking in the wrong direction the next day to see what we found. Two days later we tumbled out of the woods and descended on a hotel in Burlington which we had to talk our way into because I had made the reservation and was only 17. But this is all another story…