Still, Still, Still
O Lord, my heart is not lifted up, my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things to great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother. – Psalm 131:1-2a (NRSV)
Maybe you’ve been feeling this psalm. I have. Tired. Heart low. Eyes downcast. Overwhelmed. Too discouraged to place much hope in goodness.
To manage, I’ve been moderating my energy – lowering my gears like a car climbing a mountain in fourth, down to third, then to second, then to first. Just expend enough energy to cross this mountain. Just make a plan for the next month. Just make a plan for the next week. Just try a plan for the next day. Just get through the next breath.
Keep anxiety from clogging the catalytic converter.
Keep anger from burning out the engine.
Keep overstimulation from misfiring across the spark plugs.
A low-energy spirit is not a quieted spirit. It’s an injured spirit, rather than an imaginative spirit. A burned-out spirit, rather than a burning spirit. A despairing spirit, rather than a determined one. It’s a spirit that needs to crawl into the lap of a mothering God, close its eyes for a spell, and feel the holy heartbeat quieting its chaos.
From the safety of God’s lap, the now-quieted heart can notice great change and welcome hope. Hush, be still. From the solace of God’s lap, the stilled spirit can delight in beauty more marvelous than it could imagine. Hush, be still.
Breathe in the beauty of life. Breathe out the assurance of love.
Be still. Be still. Be still.
Mothering God, even a weaned child needs a parent’s comfort. Even a reliable car needs a tune-up. Even a faithful disciple needs quiet. Let my rest be marvelous in your sight.
Rachel Hackenberg serves on the national staff for the United Church of Christ. She is the author of Writing to God and the co-author of Denial Is My Spiritual Practice, among other titles. Her blog is Faith and Water.