Be Still.

The word “busy” has been catching my attention lately.  I am sure you have heard it too, and if you are like me, used it yourself more than you realize.  Recently I heard the word used by a parent, saying their adult child was “so busy,” to which everyone replied that was a good thing.  As we enter a new school year, I find myself “preparing” for busyness and readying myself for the storm of over-commitment…but that‘s what we are supposed to do, right?

“I am really busy,” seems to be an accepted excuse for many things including not returning phone calls or emails, not spending time with those closest to us, and missing Mass on the weekends.  I was shocked when I recently asked a group of middle schoolers what they were looking forward to doing on their summer vacation and almost all responded with sleeping, as their busy schedules had them exhausted. 

Sure, it’s good to live an active life-style and be involved in a variety of things.  But is being “busy” a good thing?  Is running from one place to the next without a moment’s rest the way we are supposed to live?  If every minute of every day is filled with an activity, will that make us happy?  Or will our busyness leave us feeling exhausted and empty after a grueling day of trying to keep up with the lives we have built for ourselves?

What does the Bible have to say about being busy?  Psalm 46 tells us to “Be still.”  Jesus encourages Martha to stop working and worrying and holds up Mary as an example to slow down.  I myself am guilty of letting my busyness interrupt my time with God.  How often has my mind wandered to things that need to be done during prayer time?  How often have I etched out times in my schedule for God?  What am I, we, really accomplishing with our schedules filled to the brim?  What would it be like if I just stopped, took a breath, said a prayer, and “was still”? 

I encourage you to really examine the busyness in your life.  We all have things we need and want to do, but if we could just take some time out of the daily grind and re-dedicate some time to listening to God, wouldn’t we all be happier?  Seriously, what do we have to lose…other than overcommitted schedules, exhausted minds and spirits running on empty? 

Tips for “being still”:

1.  Turn off the noise! 

Whether it’s the radio constantly blaring in the car, TV softly humming in the living room, your cell phone dinging with every text and notification…turn it off every once in a while.  And perhaps the conversation that ensues with your family or the quiet of being in the presence of God will make it completely worthwhile.

2.  Take back your schedule! 

Prioritize what is truly important to you and your family.  There are things we all have to do, that is a given.  But those other things, are they bringing you or someone else joy? Or are they things we are doing for the sake of…well, just doing them?

3.  Learn to just say no…and leave it at that! 

No excuses needed…and seriously, isn’t our sanity an excuse enough?

4.  Make time with God a priority. 

And instead of always doing the talking, make time to listen, too. You might be amazed at what you hear! 

“Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

We are surrounded by noise and chaos and God's voice gets lost in it all.  Just be still and listen.

Lisa Harms

Lisa Harms has been the coordinator of Faith Formation at St. Dennis Church in Madison, Wisconsin for nine years. Previously she taught middle school in urban, suburban and rural districts so she has "seen it all." She is married with two children (Ages 8 and 4) and is grateful for every day that she gets to be their mom.

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