looking through me

Tag: anxiety


Some days I slip my moorings. Adrift, I struggle to hold a steady line. I fail to anchor—to commit—I’m buffeted from half-done task to half-done task.

My workspace is strewn with Post-it Notes from eight different projects scribbled on in six different directions. My three monitors are littered with open windows from a half dozen programs. The serene desktop image is buried beneath the mundane and the urgent.

But then I finish one thing—a Post-it Note flutters into the trash, the associated emails are archived, the task log is color-coded and reordered—and the waters smooth. The course becomes a bit clearer. In my wake I see enough progress to give me hope I’m still moving forward.

I know this about myself. I know the satisfying sense of accomplishment that floods in as my pen lines an item off my list. I am a task-oriented achiever. I know. Oh, do I know.

But sometimes my restless, meandering path has less to do with unchecked items on my “to do” list and more to do with the being aspects of life. Somewhere along the way loving the unlovely became hard, so I skipped over to reading leading theological thinkers; but that got too deep, and I headed for the shallows of pinning down perfect answers in my small group study guide; but that was all head and no heart—evidenced by the “you idiot!” interjected seamlessly into my recitation of the fifth verse of Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians as a driver cut me off—and I find myself in open water going nowhere.

The strain of my effort becomes too much. I stop. I pause. And in the stillness I feel the current of the Spirit righting my path, renewing my strength, directing my eyes beyond myself to the One who achieved what I never could. The unsettled feeling comes not from lack of accomplishment but from fighting to earn what I’ve already been given.


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sitting with still

I’m sitting with the word still.

Still. Still. Be still. Still.

As the word repeats in my mind an image appears of En Gedi: the view from the pool at the base of the falls, in the shade of a tree looking across the small stream of living water to the caves David may have used to hide from Saul (and in which he later spared Saul’s life).

It’s an interesting image to accompany the word still. A scene both serene and fraught with tension. But, yet, maybe perfect. A refuge beside sweet, pure water. An oasis surrounded by brutal terrain. A stronghold supplied with sustenance. One of the only places in the desert to be safe . . . and still.

I am not fleeing a king who wants me dead. I am not fighting to survive. I am not concerned with where my next drink of water will come from or where I can close my eyes to rest without fear I’ll never open them again. I can’t relate to David’s reality. Or can I?

I am not still. Sedentary, yes. But not still. There is a current of agitation coursing through me. It churns within me. Always. It pumps through me as effortlessly as the blood in my veins.

I, too, need a refuge. An oasis from my own internal processing and the 24-hour news cycle. Sustaining my spirit requires more than I can provide. In the harshness of humanity I need a place to be safe . . . and still.

Right here. Right now. Just as I am.

Be still. Cease striving. “Be still, and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10).

There is no scarcity. Striving for God’s love and grace will bring no more of them than is already available. They are inexhaustible commodities. Gifts given as freely as the water springing forth in En Gedi, as real as the refuge hollowed out of the rock.

Still. Be still. Still. Still.

I’m sitting with the word still.


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