As I write this, the wind outside howls and spins, causing the trees to throw up their branches in helplessness, and the walls of my apartment to tremble. It’s disconcerting, this wind. It came out of nowhere this morning, gaining intensity and speed throughout the afternoon, until it began to blow cars off the road, snap branches and bend road signs over. I found myself wholly unprepared for it, and spent the day freezing and scolding myself for not busting out my parka (except I don’t have a parka, because it’s Texas, but the weather here is so confused, I really should be prepared for anything… but I digress).
Parka or not, the whole crazy-winds-out-of-nowhere thing reminds me of what happens in my head when life gets overwhelming.
Heavy workloads, family drama, fights with loved ones, moving to a new house, worry about world politics, the Pope abdicating, and so on fill my mind with worry and to-do lists so long that by the end of the day my internal processes look a lot like the windy weather outside: chaotic and overbearing.
It’s so easy to get caught up in this, wind or no wind. The demands of life can keep us in a frenzy, until we only have enough free time to play a round of ‘Angry Birds’ while waiting in line at the store, or updating our Facebook status before we fall into bed exhausted. I myself am particularly bad at the whole rest/free time/quiet time thing. I tend to fill my schedule to the brim, with every piece of free time accounted for with hobbies, social events, or chores. I love people and I love being busy, but recently I found myself yearning for quiet time like I yearn for coffee at 6AM Monday morning (read: A LOT).
It started with a great but incredibly busy day at work, full of meetings and sessions and long complicated phone calls. Add to that my day-to-day worries about my family, my friends, the fact that I was freezing in the wind, and my head was full to bursting. Usually I would tackle the stress with fun social time or Pinning cute animals to my “So cute I might die” board, but none of that seemed like it would work. When I sat down and thought about it, what I wanted more than anything was God.
Luckily, I knew exactly where to find Him.
I battled the wind and drove to St. Albert the Great where a group of awesome young adults were meeting for adoration. I felt like running to the monstrance, and collapsing in a sad little heap in front of it, but decided that was a tad too dramatic and I didn’t want to alarm anyone. But the yearning was so intense; I wanted nothing but stillness and silence. Alas, the second I knelt in front of the monstrance, the worries picked up pace and with all the urgency of a developing tropical storm, unleashed a torrent of anxieties, worries and fears. I was staring at Jesus, drowning in my thoughts, and looking at him like he was my life vest.
… which is interesting because He is. Only I get so caught up in the pace of life to remember that, or to stop and take comfort in it. If the winds of life are the problem, then the answer is finding an anchor, and what better anchor than God? Besides, how am I supposed to rejuvenated if I keep choosing Pinterest over quiet time with Him? Not only that, but how am I supposed to grow in my faith without my one-on-one time with Him?
So, like the good little worrier that I am, I added “don’t spend enough quiet time with Jesus” to my list and kept looking at Jesus while my thoughts kept somersaulting away.
Then the Bible verse “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10) popped into my head, and I remembered why I was in adoration: to let go and just spend time with my Beloved.
I wish I could say that my thoughts magically disappeared at that moment, and I had the most tranquil adoration hours of my life. Not exactly, but I did learn how valuable that quiet time is, and how maybe if I practice it more, the more I will be able to calm the chaos and grow closer to God. Not only that, I re-remembered that I had been neglecting God by all of this running around, and if I really wanted to love Him, I needed to give Him some quality time.
Hence why my new Lenten goal is quiet time in the morning and at night. We’ll see how this goes!
“God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change
And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;
3 Though its waters roar and foam,
Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.
10 “Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold.
– Psalm 46: 1-3, 10-11