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Stillness

Posted Oct 11 2010 8:46pm
Familiar urges to eat, eat, eat returned last night. A repeated, "what is it that you are really looking for?" kept those urges at bay for over a week, but last night? There was a bit of a brawl.Some of  you reading this may not be able to relate to the pressing urge to swallow as much food as possible until shoulders relax, breath is exhaled, and nerves are massaged.  I know I write about it a lot, and you may be thinking, "well, just stop it." And I am. I mean, I'm getting there. But there is more to all this than just action; there are lies in my heart, there are good intentions, there is miscommunication. I want truth- about who I was and am made to be, about the thumbprints God puts on his creations, about the life that is available and even intended for me.

So I stop, ask, read, write, consider.I know why I wanted to just cram food into my mouth last night: I was beyond tired. I'm not quite sure when my last good night's sleep was, but I had been expecting myself, specifically my body, to continue doing its thing-and doing it well- without enough time to rebuild, to prepare for the next day's living. My body needed sleep, but I interpreted such fatigue as a need for food. A lot of food. You know, so I could keep going. Keep doing. So I didn't have to stop and be still.

I really don't like to be still all that much. I know I need to be, I know stillness is beneficial, and busyness does not automatically equate to fullness of life. But I am usually the woman who watches TV when she is folding laundry, when she is rubbing her husband's back, who slips away from cuddling with her husband after he is [almost] asleep so she can go "do something."

I don't do everything well, but I continue to value doing. Which is okay, and even good to some extent. It's just not good when I value doingso much that I will not stop to give my body (or my mind or my spirit) the rest it needs so it can truly rock upcoming moments. It's then that something in me demands that needs be met, and I say "shut up!" with a fistful (or several fistsful) of food.

But last night, I didn't say,"shut up." I considered. I thought through why I do what I do. I gripped counters while saying, "I will not use food to ignore what is actually going on." I chewed 2 sticks of gum in effort to stay away from unnecessary food. And then I closed my book, my magazine, my computer screen. I thought about how much I don't want to go to sleep sometimes because it means just lying down in stillness and quiet.

The scariest part about this whole journey (for me) is the unknown. When I stop fighting with myself, when I stop obsessing, when I just sit in the silence and listen, pay attention, close my ideas, slow down my breath...what will I find? The truth is that what I find , by itself, is usually nothing scary at all. It's really the fact that I want all my questions answered, I want a map to life, I want to know that I am doing life "right"...when all the while the God who made me is asking me to "be still and know that he is God" (Psalm 46:10), to "cease striving," ( which is the Hebrew translation of "be still," as my dear friend Kristen pointed out to to me.)

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