February 13, 2005
Busyness & Stillness
I have found myself recently feeling very restless — often feeling the inner pressure and questioning in my spirit about what I am doing, whether I am doing the right thing, or should I be doing something else??
I think how this is much related to way we Christians have come to think of our significance — how busy we are or seem to be — what are we achieving? How is our performance in life and in our ministries? Which so easily leads to this disturbing inner feeling of restlessness, never sure if we are performing as we should or as is expected of us — worried and wondering if God or others are truly satisfied with us?? That inner voice that reminds me of all the things I still have to do, i.e. unfinished business.
Whereas God is about “shalom” — deep, inner peace, a life of rest and calm — God’s life is about REST.
I ask myself: Where does meditation come in? Why is there today such a focus upon yoga and meditation these days? What in this world of great production and emphasis upon achieving goals et al are so many people expressing the need for great calm and serenity?
Our modern western society is crazy, full of go, go, go — activity — movement – out and about — otherwise people speak about boredom — noise — doing this — never quiet or still — unable to be calm — restless — continually on the go — the need to get ahead of others — competition, achieving, democracy.
In God there is shalom, rest, peace, quietness, being still — sitting listening to God — no striving — a true sense of being still and serene.
Our society and also our church and mission agencies praise doers and achievers — stress settling of goals — the people who are put in the spotlight in today’s world and church including missions are those with a strong go, go nature, impressing others with the amount of work that they are doing for God — these are the ones who gain good financial support.
God’s heart is for our fellowship — to bless us with that deep shalom — to “be” people who dwell in God — through whom God shines His light, life and love, not the great achievers — the people who emanate calm and peace and joy — who may not achieve “great things” quantitatively but qualitatively their lives wherever they are amount to MUCH in God’s kingdom.
My great personal need is to slow down — to relax, let go, be still and know that God is God (song from a CD “Quiet in His Presence”) — to abide in Jesus — to be alone without heaps and heaps of goals and lists and lists of things to do.
We need to create an environment for ourselves that creates and strengthens this inner stillness and peace — to stop (physically) — to throw off the light-style that sets up the stress and tension — it is not the question: “What can I do now?” (in order the achieve something) but “how can be now?”
Of course tasks need o be done but doing work whatever it is out of a sense of shalom is to enjoy the work, it is to work well and efficiently, it is to create an environment of peace and shalom that blessed relationships and draws people towards God .
In contrast, achieving and doing is bordering on becoming a works-based faith that is characterised by striving, sense of failure as goals aren’t met — by restlessness wanting to or feeling the need to do more and more — pride seen in impressing people — focus on the externals (what others think) rather than what God sees and what is honouring to Him = a life of dwelling in His presence — no goals, just wasting time being with Him in order to give Him joy — to grow closer to Him — sheer enjoyment of God’s company.
Scriptures: “Be still and know that I am God.” “Abide in Me, then you will bear much fruit”. “Let the peace of Christ dwell in you.” “My peace I give to you.”. “Come to Me, all you who are weary….”
Away with falling prey to the dictates of other’s people’s restlessness — also my own to do lists — in order to become a person who learns and “centres” my mind and inner spirit on God alone.
Today’s world of information saturation — not only do more but the demand to know more = knowledge is power — also creates more discontent and restlessness — a disquiet of spirit — robs us of the treasure of that life lived with a restful spirit and a peaceful mind.
Works-based living and faith has to do with proving your worth in God’s sight and getting God on side by what we do or feeling afraid that He’s out of sorts with us because we have failed to do what He wanted us to do