We all hear all the time about these unprecedented times. No one has a play book for a global pandemic; teachers, doctors, governors, and even the President are making it up as they go. Stay-at-home-moms, used to making it up as we go, feel a new level of responsibility. We must keep our kids, our husbands and ourselves entertained for a huge chunk of time–all without leaving our yards.
One thing I have already learned is that I’m really bad at being still.
I come by it honestly. My own parents did not model stillness very well. We used to tell my mom, “Quit folding the laundry and just come watch a movie with us!” I get it now. Moms have a hard time turning off their “mom brain.” If we are sitting, we feel as if we’re not serving our families.
Since I have had the time, I’ve been thinking about this on a psychological level. Do I feel my performance as a mother is wrapped up in how much I accomplish in a day? Therefore, do I fail when I sit down and enjoy leisure time? Why do I think these things? Where is this message coming from?
I know it’s not from my husband or my kids. I think as long as my family is fed and they have clean clothes, they could care less what I do in a day. No, I don’t feel pressure from them. So it must be from myself and/or society.
Society is all about accomplishments. We all want proof of achievements. People live for recognition at work, or in some way or another. As a mom, the recognition is not always there. So do us moms feel like must daily complete a long list of to-dos in order to have achieved something? All good things to think about.
If we look to God, I think we can discover some truths that can set us free and allow us to be still.
First of all, God wants us to have times of stillness…and times to work. It is one of His commands. “For six days work is to be done, but the seventh day is a day of sabbath rest, holy to the LORD” (Exodus 31:15, NIV). He purposefully set aside one day as a day to rest, relax and recuperate.
But more than that, God wants us to be still so we can hear from Him. In Psalm 46:10 God instructs us to, “Be still, and know that I am God.” God knows our tendency to let busyness creep in, therefore pushing Him out. He knows that in order to experience real rest, we must be still and hear from Him, the only one who can refresh our souls. God designed us to need rest and stillness, and He made us to need Him.
I love the passage from 1 Kings 19 where Elijah, a prophet of the Lord, goes to the mountain of God and into a cave to spend the night. There, he heard from God. Here is the conversation:
And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”
The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. (1 Kings 19:9-13)
God revealed Himself to Elijah in a whisper. He was not in the noise and the chaos that happened all around Elijah. He spoke like the whisper of the wind.
We all want to hear from God, but are we putting ourselves in a position to actually hear Him? Are we still? Are we expectant? Are we quiet?
Secondly, we cannot fall into the trap of the enemy and equate busyness with importance or accomplishments with acceptance. You are not the number of things you cross off your to-do list. You are not measured by the cleanliness of your house (thank goodness!). We are loved by God because God chose to create us and love us. Period. The number of things we accomplish each day do not make us more worthy of His love or provision. Our achievements can never save us, nor can they bring about eternal joy. Ephesians 2:8-9 reminds us, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.“
Satan wants us to fall for the trap. He knows if we are busy achieving we won’t make time to be still and hear from God.
I know this social distancing/quarantine thing is hard. I’m an extrovert who thrives in large group settings. I’m not so concerned about homeschooling my children, but I am concerned about having no where to go and no people to see.
But we can spin this and look at it in a new light. We have been given the gift of time. We have time to allow ourselves to slow down and hear from God. So instead of wishing away the social distancing, I’m going to pray and ask God to reveal Himself to me in new ways. I’m going to be still, even though it will be a fight, and give myself a chance to hear God’s voice. It’s a fight that will be well worth it.