“We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life; we’ve added years to our lives, but not life to our years. We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve split the atom, but not our prejudice. We plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait. These days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throw away morality, one night stands, overweight bodies and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It’s a time when there is much in the show window and nothing in the storeroom.” – Norris Peters
As we experience society and culture as we know it, we find ourselves chasing things, accomplishments and positions which have the appearance of satisfaction, but usually leaving us wanting more or questioning the limitations of contentment. In lives where days and weeks and years pass quickly by, what is the content we are left within experiences which do not change the minutes of our perspectives in 24 hours of breathing. Do we recognize the moment we are in and enjoy it while it is happening? Are we caught up in working a 90 hour week so we can get to our activity jam packed vacation in three months? What level of stillness is there in our lives? Busyness is the overwhelming opiate of the masses in the culture of today. Think of how many times you have asked someone how they were doing and they responded, “busy!” Busyness has become of value in today’s society; not because of the effectiveness or accomplishment, but it is indicative of a culture which is all about the conversations and “how-to’s” of substance, but is devoid of it in daily life. The basic building blocks of lasting peace, joy and contentment are being lost in the pursuit of the inconsequential. As Annie Dillard put it, “There is always an enormous temptation to diddle around making itsy-bitsy friends and meals and journeys for itsy-bitsy years at a time.” If we are not careful, we may end up looking back on a life of advancement and change, of new and exciting, of accomplishment and accolade – but no enlightenment, no transcendence, no fulfillment or contentment.
Fortunately God is gracious in bringing our lives to a halt for perspective. It is not always a proposition we are ready for, or happy about, when it happens – and we do struggle against it at times, but he is faithful in drawing us near to his heart. In our busyness we forget that God speaks in stillness. Be still and know that he is God. How many of us struggle with being still enough for Him to speak? I know well the myriad of thoughts racing in my head, responsibilities I must attend to, commitments which must be satisfied – and the moments when I try to stop to hear Him and they all rush in my head like Reggie White after a quarterback… Sometimes it takes serious discipline to be still and listen to the Father. God gave us this life, not to tally various stats with in it, but to know Him. He gave us this life that we may know the moment of his embrace, and feel the joy of a soul basking in his splendor. The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy his presence forever. Many Christians can talk about love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control – but they do not actually know them within the still moments of their lives. We must be more about being followers of Christ, than appearing to be or telling anyone that we are. A life defined by Christ, as Acts 1:8 says, is defined by power. How readily can we embrace the power of the risen Savior if we only know the casual conversation about the richness of Him, yet do not seek the moment of Him rich communion of the Spirit. If we truly want to experience the abundant life, stillness and substance must be essential to our everyday. Re-energize, refill, respond; quietly listening to our Lord builds a reservoir of strength for us to access in our lives. In the car, on the train or bus, a break at work, a nap time for the children, when you wake or lay your head to rest; moments to seek Him are available to those who are longing for quiet communion with the Almighty.
Being people who recognize our lives in the moment is an amazing strength to offer the world we live in. The ever-conscious mindset which meditates on God’s word day and night, prays continually and submits all things to Him would be utterly overwhelming if it was not for the regeneration of ourselves through the moments of his presence. Pursuing Christ does not leave you tired and unfulfilled. If it were up to our own self-sustaining efforts to meet God where he is, we all would fail. Fortunately He draws us near; He instigates our preservation on our behalf for his pleasure of community with his creation. Unlike earthly commitments and responsibilities and items in a busy schedule, his interaction is a restoration of our hearts to what is best for them: the understanding that we belong to and are deeply loved and cared for by the Lord God Almighty. Seek Him with all your heart, and in knowing his heart, be changed in the moment of his purpose. This is the moment you can revel in; the moment he has given you to recognize his sovereignty in all things. As John 15 tells us, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you; ask what you wish and it will be given to you. This is to my Father’s glory – that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” Enjoying communion with Him keeps us filled with substance and sustenance, as well as attuned to the leading of his Spirit. Be still in Him, that he might restore the reservoir of abundance in your heart. He will make you rich in power and perspective; rich in the fruits of the Spirit and in the experience of the Father. He will fill you with Himself. He will fill you with the stillness of heart known only in the moment of his presence.