be still

I’m struggling with motivation today, y’all. It’s rainy and cold outside—classic curl-up-on-your-couch-with-something-hot-and-read weather. Only, I can’t remember the last time I curled up on my couch alone and read (other than my morning Bible reading, which, yes, counts but is a little different), with or without the hot something (which, all of a sudden, strikes me as a good nickname for my husband).

I find that, whenever I have a crazy-busy week (see: last week), I feel a bit shell shocked the week after. All of that jittery adrenaline that propelled me from one up-til-2 AM painting session through to the next  up-at-4 AM on a Saturday morning to clean because the rest of the day of is bursting at the seams with BODYPUMP launches and errands and cooking and friends coming over and party preparations and too many other fun and hectic things to mention? It just deserts me, and all I’m left with is a sensation that I can only describe as how I imagine a helium balloon feels by about day 3.

I mentioned last week that I thought I would be breathing a big sigh of relief come Monday. Well, it’s Tuesday (right? it is Tuesday already? Holy cow), and I don’t remember exhaling yet. And it’s not because yesterday was so very busy (it was a notch or two less so than most Mondays) or that I didn’t get any sleep (I slept until 9:07; I checked my phone 4 times and then my husband’s to make sure it was actually right).

No, it’s more like that much busyness in that small amount of time is hard on my soul. I think I only did my morning devotions twice, maybe three times, last week. I hurtled from one activity to the next and tucked my children in with perfunctory kisses and lightning fast bedtime prayers. I wasn’t living so much as desperately hanging onto life’s tail.

Not that weeks like that are such a bad thing. Sometimes, they’re just necessary, and, boy, did I get a lot done!

But no amount of productivity is worth the kind of soul-weariness that makes you snippy and teary for no good reason on a long term basis.

There’s a reason that “Be still, and know that I am God” is one of the most well-known, oft-quoted verses in the Bible. It’s comforting. It’s rock-solid. And it’s so simple.

And yet so hard.

Be still. Stop. Cease. Desist. Quit scrubbing and painting and baking and hustling to that next sports event.

But I can’t, you say. If I stop now, all the madly spinning plates will  come crashing down to the ground! (At least that’s what I say).  And then I’ll have to add sweeping up the broken pieces to my list that already runs off the page.

And I’m certainly not making a case for laziness or not doing hard things. Sometimes, you just have to push through the weariness to get to that point where you can breathe a little easier. But once you get there, the breathing part is essential. Because, in the  same way that pushing a tired muscle eventually causes a tear, if you just keep “pushing through” to the next thing in life, you might end up with a bit of a broken soul. You might lose your ability to be still. To recognize the need for a Sabbath.

And I never want to do that. I’m a much meaner mama when I’m endlessly pushing through. When all my kids hear is a constant loop of, “Mama will play with you when she finishes…” instead of, “Let’s play right now.”

I still have a long list this week. That’s a given. But I am choosing to bump: “Blog and finish those pillows and take pictures of that dresser and repaint that room” down—way down—below: “Read my kids Narnia” and “play on the floor with the little girls” and “take a nap” and “curl up on the couch with the Hot Something” (either of the drink or the husband variety).

So, if you don’t see much of me this week, that’s where I’ll be. And if you do, it’s because I managed to squeeze it in the cracks of being still because I wanted to. Not because I felt like I had to.

And now I’m off to put the little girls down for naps and maybe even take one of my own.

Do you have trouble being still sometimes too? I’m usually okay with the everyday hecticness, but I definitely feel it when I’ve started sprinting on the hamster wheel rather than steadily trundling along.

How do you pull back and reset? I always feel better/calmer after reading my Bible and spending time talking to Jesus. That, and a day of hanging out with my kids and husband, and I’m always amazed at how refreshed and ready to jump back into the craziness I feel.

chocolate chip cookie

{Chocolate chip cookies + writing time at Barnes and Noble help too}

P.S. Inevitably, when I share something like this, I get several people gently chiding me about how short life is and how I really should slow down and take stock of the things that are truly important. And If that happens today, that’s fine. But please hear that that is exactly what I am advocating here. I am happy to have some things checked off my list because of last week. It helps me to better enjoy my times of rest and refreshment when things are in order because of hard work and diligence.  But I in no way think that constant “projecting”  is a substitute for “real living.” : )


  1. I know what you mean about the energy let down after a big productive push. I can have times where I feel like, “I’m awake, I must be doing something productive”- even if I’ve managed to accomplish a ton of stuff that day, and it’s OK to sit down with a book for a few minutes to unwind. It helps me just to give myself permission to take that time, knowing that it will help me be more productive in the long run. For me, it helps to turn off the computer at a certain time during the day, make lists to help me prioritize and plan- as in, I don’t have to do this right now, because I’m going to do it tomorrow afternoon. But I don’t really have it figured out. Just trying to make improvements. 😉

  2. Thanks for being real. We all know that slowing down and enjoying life is the thing to do. Sometimes it’s just not possible, and that’s just part of the hard part of life.

  3. This really spoke to me. I’m constantly having to remind myself to just STOP and be in the presence of the Lord sometimes. Be still. Put my phone down. Not think about what I might make for dinner or which bill I need to pay. Not see that piece of laundry that needs picked up right that minute or the blanket that I could fold. Gosh, it’s HARD to just sit and truly be still and meditate on the true peacefulness we have when we focus on the presence of the Lord. I feel like our society today really encourages busy busy busy, when sometimes we need to just…sit.

    Thank you for sharing your heart today. This really convicted me to be still!

  4. I just discovered your blog a few days ago, and after browsing through several posts, I knew this was one I wanted to add to my Reader. And that doesn’t happen very often, because with four little kidlings, I don’t have endless time to kick back and leisurely browse through dozens of daily Reader updates. I’ve gotta be picky and discriminating! After reading this post and hearing a message that my soul really needed today, I’m just that much more excited to be following you, and willing to wait for however long you need to take. 🙂 Thanks, and good luck!

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