Three weeks ago, I sat on the back porch at a dear friend’s house. The sloping hill of her San Diego backyard drew my eye out toward the horizon where mountains and hills shaded the orange ground, pulling me into the tranquility of that one, quiet moment.
It was peaceful and lovely and beautiful – a complete contrast to the horror of the world outside these California hills.
The night before, a gunman opened fire on a Las Vegas strip. When it was all said and done, there were 59 people killed and up to 500 people injured. How can this be? How can such evil and hatred exist in a world that boasts such beauty?
I listened to the whine of a nearby horse, and a bird cried out from the sky above. The sounds were almost mournful that morning. It’s as though even the animals knew that the world around them was hurting.
There is a lot of noise out there today. From hurricanes to fires to mass shootings, all heaped on top of political rhetoric and each one of us trying to make sense of it inside the boundaries of our own small spheres. It seems that the noise and the heartache are beyond what we can handle.
So what do we do in this world that is in constant motion? How do we take the time to simply be still?
My children are good at being still. Sometimes, it seems they are too good at it actually. (Seriously, why are you just sitting there when I need you to PUT ON YOUR SHOES?!)
Even my older two children, the ones who have settled nicely into the tween/teen years, have an innocence that allows them to withdraw from the world and simply be at peace.
I want that innocence back, and I want to protect it in them for as long as I possibly can.
Being still is an art form. It requires the deliberate act of drawing away, of shutting out the noise of the world so that you can simply soak in a moment.
Here are a few suggestions for being still in a world that feels like it’s gone mad.
We cannot overemphasize the power of prayer, especially not in these seemingly dark days. Prayer in and of itself requires us to draw inward. It pulls us from a moment, and shifts our gaze away from the world and onto One who is better equipped to carry our burdens.
Prayer not only forces us to be still, but it strengthens us in the quiet moments.
For a resource on brief 5-Word Prayers to help you as you draw away, check out Lisa Whittle’s new book, 5 Word Prayers: Where to Start When You Don’t Know What to Say to God.
2.) Pull Away
Time doesn’t always allow us the freedom to go far, but we can always find a little space to draw away to a quiet place and simply…sit. No phones or television giving us the latest headlines or inappropriate presidential tweets.
No children vying for attention, or dirty floors mocking us.
Sometimes, all we need is a few minutes to take in deep breaths. Other times, we may need a few days. Either way, there is something to be said about pulling away from the noise and letting ourselves be enveloped in blessed silence.
My kids know how to forget about the problems of the world and have a little fun. Any given moment of the day is ripe with potential for fun, and more and more I find myself wanting to join in those moments with them.
It takes nothing more than a good song, cranked loud enough to make the walls thrum, and the willingness to dance to feel the problems of the world begin to take backseat. Try an impromptu dance party with your kids and tell me if it doesn’t work to still your anxious heart.
(And might I suggest “Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake or “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars as your go-to dance jams? They work every single time.)Being still won't stop the world from chaos, but it will stop the chaos from ruling our lives.Click To Tweet
It seems trite, and perhaps even oversimplified, to assume that any of these three suggestions can quiet this noisy world, and it’s true that they will not prevent any more heartache from overwhelming us.
But there is power in being still. It can lower anxiety and stress, allowing us to better handle the heartache and overwhelming noise outside our walls.
Being still won’t stop the world from chaos, but it just might stop the chaos from ruling our lives.