Over the past year, I have felt a pressing need to practice what it meant to Be Still. It was something that I couldn't quite shake, not so much a feeling as a gentle command. God needed me to Be Still. The first step in achieving this request was understanding what exactly being Still meant.
How does one Be Still? How does one Be Still with God? In what capacity am I to Be Still?
Part of my journey to master being Still had a lot to do with our circumstances of living with another family. That particular leg of our journey left limited opportunity for me to really do anything outside of raising my child. The living situation wasn't conducive to my creative outlet, nor was it conducive to entertaining our friends and family. Previously, I mentioned how coming to this conclusion to merge families was the hardest thing my husband and I had to do. We were seriously humbled. We were also being blessed. Moving in with our friends was an answer to our prayers, and through faith we endured. Something to consider, when you decide to move in with another family, or even with your own family, dynamics change. It's not your house. It's not your time. It's no ones' fault, it's just how it is. We had no choice but to defer to this other family. But a lot of good came from this difficult living situation.
There were times this answered prayer of seeking shelter in the home of another family felt like a curse, but through this chapter of my life, I have come to understand one should never underestimate God's ability to bend circumstances to His ultimate advantage. If you let Him.
God knew I would rely on Him to provide a home for us; God knew I would trust in Him to lead us where we were to go; God knew I needed to learn how to quiet my mind. He knew what situation, which answer to my prayer, would be the perfect classroom for me to relent and Be Still.
I went through a range of emotions from highly positive to utterly despaired. It was ten months of feeling like I couldn't be myself, I couldn't live my way, and I couldn't do what I wanted. Still. Be Still. That's what I kept hearing, feeling, seeing. I had no choice but to pray, asking God to reveal to me the method of which to inherit so that I may be able to obey Him. It started with letting go. I had to let go of how my circumstances affected me. I had to let go of the fact that this is not where I wanted to be in life. I had to let go of my fears regarding our future. I had to let go of feeling inadequate. The list just simply goes on.
I was made aware that in my efforts to hear God's will, I over think the circumstances and consequences to the point of drowning out His voice. I needed to let go of my personal fears and hesitations, in order to truly give God the opportunity to speak to me, answer me, guide me. But another factor in noise cancelling out God's voice is the outside world. We have expectations placed on us by society, family, or friends. Sometimes all three. Judgement is passed. Pressure expounds as we try to live according to what other's feel is right for us. And in my humanness, I often take ownership for things that are not my right to own. This is so backwards, but as humans we have a hard time keeping them out.
My time feeling sequestered from the populous was used to God's advantage. It allowed me to only focus on keeping my thoughts at bay, instead of also battling the worlds incessant noise.
Through our unorthodox lifestyle during this phase of our lives, I was in perfect position to center myself in listening to God. What I exercised was reading the bible, or other inspirational books, compelling my mind to focus on what I just read, as I fell asleep. Picture a thought entering your mind, uninvited, and using a mental bat to hit it out of the realm of your concentration. That is what I practiced...Over and over and over again. Some nights I fought so hard to keep only the last sentence I read, and the message attached to it, that I didn't sleep well in an effort to keep all other thoughts from creeping in and taking over. However, over time I came to learn how to quiet my mind. This discipline helped me to hone the skills necessary to kick unwelcome thoughts from my conscience, and to allow God's deeper understanding fill my heart. It was incredibly difficult, as well as exhausting.
That is not to say that this isn't a constant struggle. Even to this day I am currently overwhelmed with a new part time job and managing this blog, being a stay at home mother and house wife. It's not the act of playing all of these roles that has me overwhelmed, it's the transition of going from a completely flexible schedule to a not so flexible schedule. I have allowed my mind to weigh me down with a list of things I must do every week around my new part time job. I didn't realize I'd be as fatigued as I am after my first three days. Then I remember I haven't worked in three years and I haven't done this particular line of work in nine.
Almost two weeks ago I decided I wanted to volunteer at our local library, sharing this with my husband. He didn't really have much to say. At least, not at first. The next day however, he came to me and expressed that if I was willing to take the time to volunteer, then he would prefer me to get a part time job. Many thoughts and emotions ran through my head and heart at this suggestion. I have wanted to volunteer for years, but due to various financial circumstances haven't been able to -- Be Still. That same day, I decided to call around, seeking employment to no avail. Ten businesses later, nothing. I didn't know what to do. I didn't know how to go about applying and interviewing for jobs knowing I am responsible for my son during normal business hours. I also wasn't sure how easy it would be to find a job that allowed me part time hours outside of my husbands first shift work schedule. My only choice was to pray.
And pray I did.
Lord, I don't know what to do. This is all in your hands, and if You will it, provide a suitable job for me. May Your will be done. I trust you. In Jesus Christ's name, Amen.
After, I engaged myself in all that God had taught me: I was Still.
I let it go. I focused on what I could for the rest of the day. I worked on my blog, I played with my child, I cleaned the house. Then, I got a call, had an interview after my husband got home from work, and was blessed with a job that fits into my family's current schedule and lifestyle.
By trusting in the work God had already performed on my heart, I was able to move out of God's way to allow His will to be done, in His way and in His time. There is no glamour, no romanticism, but I see an awesome miracle performed by His Most High. I thank God for bringing the people of my current place of employment into my life. And I thank Him for revealing truths about myself to me. I am enjoying life in a way I never thought was possible.
So, while I am struggling with the transition of balancing home and work, and adjusting to my aging body, I am filled with a further sense of purpose, joy, and peace. I feel more useful, more capable, and am eager to keep up with all God has asked of me, because, through Him alone, all things are possible.