I’m amazed at how quickly my mind spirals out of control on any given day. I look into the mirror in the morning and wonder when I started looking so beat down. I then regret not getting sufficient sleep, not working out enough, and overeating. On my way to work, I dwell on that guy who cut me off in traffic...who does he think he is? Once I get to the office, I read an email and speculate about tone and meaning. I stress out over deadlines. I start to question whether I’m contributing enough or appreciated enough. Does my boss like me? Am I doing enough to plan for retirement? Am I even in the right career field?
I’m so done with all the noise and over-analysis. I don’t want to let life circumstances continue to trigger me and cause me so much frustration, anger, and anxiety. Why do I keep on wallowing in dissatisfaction about choices I make, qualities, talents, and things I don’t have, and where I’m going in life? I’m tired of beating myself up about not being good enough and feeling so very very alone.
So, what are my options?
I can give in to the noise, surrender to misery, and allow the dark forces to bind me. Lovely. Or, I can choose to accept God’s invitation to peace and take steps toward a renewed life as my greater true self. God’s invitation seems to come in the form of concise, simple instructions.
Inhale. Exhale. Repeat. Slow down. Be still.
I find myself most at peace when I do this. Setting aside intentional time and space to “just be” usually reduces the chatter in my head, but for some unknown reason, I don’t do it as often as I’d like. Also, being still continues to be challenging for me because I’m easily distracted, and I often feel I must be doing something more to be with Christ (and whatever that “something more” is must be done perfectly). Fortunately, I’m growing to realize maybe I'm called to spend quality time with God, to shut up, and to listen to what God is trying to tell me.
In stillness, I sense God’s call for me to count my blessings. God created just one of me out of Love, granted me unique gifts, and sent me on a once-in-a-lifetime mission on this earth. I don’t always know what that mission is, but I find that taking inventory of my life leads me to realize how comparing and despairing is a complete waste of time and energy. I know I’ll frequently be tempted to doubt myself and to feel “not good enough,” but during one-on-one time, God reminds me of the many ways He is present in my life and how much I am Loved.
Quiet time with God also instills in my heart and mind a greater sense of trust in His plans for me. It’s so easy to take the present moment for granted, to dwell on the past, and to freak out about the future. Despite these tendencies, I find a Scripture passage from my Caritas 31 retreat remains with me: “For I know well the plans I have in mind for you…plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope. When you call me, and come and pray to me, I will listen to you. When you look for me, you will find me. Yes, when you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me…” Jeremiah 29: 11-14. Checking in with God allows me to recalibrate my thoughts and actions and move from fear and self-preservation to trust in Christ’s accompaniment and a deep desire to share His love with others.
In the song “You Speak,” Audrey Assad sings, “In the silence of the heart, You speak. And it is there that I will know You, and You will know me.” We all live busy, noisy lives. May we remember to find time to be still, embrace silence, and grow in relationship with God who knows what we’re going through and loves each of us without condition. Abundant prayers for you all. Peace be with you.
Audrey Assad’s “You Speak”