My youngest has many words, and my husband and I are the primary receiver of these words throughout the day. Every-little-once-in-a-while, the amount of words brings us close to lunacy. Here is a text I received from my husband a few weeks ago regarding my youngest and her verbal processing:
So many words. And most of the time, I love it. She is a nine-year old who is full of energy and curious about the world around her. The kind of questions I receive from her are remarkable: How come Adam and Eve didn’t listen to God? Who made sin? Does God control me or do I control myself? And most importantly…Why didn’t the Mona Lisa smile?
And there are about 10000 more of those.
What I don’t always love is the incessant nature of the questioning, similar to a text I recently received from this nine-year old:
So, her inquiry about the Mona Lisa’s lack of emotion was not merely a simple question. Instead, it sounded more like this: Mom, mom, are you listening, mom? Hello, Mom? I’m wondering about something that I’ve been wondering about for a long time. Maybe forever, mom. And I couldn’t sleep because I’ve been wondering about it. Mom, are you listening?!? Mom, I couldn’t sleep because I was wondering about my question, mom. Mom! It’s just that…MOM! I’m just wondering why the Mona Lisa didn’t smile? Mom, did you hear that question? Do you know why, Mom? Mom, why? Why didn’t the Mona Lisa smile, Mom? MOM!
That’s what pushes me into lunacy.
It’s during these frantic moments of questioning and inquiring and yelling and calling out, MOM! that I want to scoop her up, hold her tight, and tell her to just be still. Take a deep breath, and be still.
Instead, I often impatiently answer with, “Just ask your dad!”
It’s this desire to calm her that led me to think about my own longings as we enter into a new year. With the anticipation of new beginnings on the calendar, I like to reflect on what it is I need to do in the coming year. What do I need to change? What areas need improvement? This time, my reflections led to a different kind of realization. In this new year, I need to do less and be more.
Don’t Do, Just Be
In their new album, “Songs of Experience,” U2 has a song called “Landlady.” In one of the lines, a loved one whispers to lead singer, Bono, “Don’t do, just be.” As a “doer,” that concept is nearly foreign to me. I relate more to my nine-year old’s frantic energy than I care to admit as my mind races as fast as the words come out of her mouth. I have many busy thoughts of what needs to be done next, and what child needs to be where and when, and then there are the anxious and relentless “what-ifs” that plague my mind and heart.
There is so much doing that needs to happen on a regular basis between papers, dinners, deadlines, and other responsibilities, that the thought of just “being” sounds appealing, but what does it actually look like? How is it possible to escape the frantic whirlwind when, like my daughter, there are times when I want to scream out in the midst of my frenzied schedule and troubled thoughts: Lord! Are you listening?
“Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)
The feeling I have in wanting to scoop up my daughter and calm her spirit is exactly what Jesus is doing in this Psalm. He enwraps His children through these treasured words and reminds us that He is our refuge, He is our help when we feel troubled. We have nothing to fear in his embrace, no matter what comes our way in the new year. Whether we face deep challenges in parenting, struggle through the effects of injustice, experience transitions in our churches or jobs, or feel devastated by difficult news, in each of these circumstances, the Lord commands us: “Be still and KNOW that I am God.” Know that He is greater than your deepest fears. Know that He is Sovereign over every aspect of your existence.
Of all the activities that pull for our attention, there is none more important than seeing the marvels of God, but how easy they are to miss when we don’t take the time to be still from our words, thoughts, and actions.
For those of us who tend to be doers, in this new year, perhaps we need to set aside our traditional resolutions and resolve instead to stop doing so much, and spend longer periods of time being in the presence of Jesus. Step out of the frantic moments of schedules and questions, take a deep breath, and feel the tight embrace of your Savior as He reminds you to stop.
And Know that He is God.
About the Author:
Katie is wife to Chris, a PCA pastor at Trinity church in Kirkwood, MO, and together they have three children, Ella (15), J-Rod (13), and Lily (9). Katie works as the music director at Trinity and serves on the Women’s Ministry Committee. She also spends much of her time writing, teaching piano, leading women’s Bible studies, and speaking to women’s groups about the joy she has found in Christ. Katie serves on the board of Covenant College, where she graduated with a BA in English Education, and is currently pursuing her Masters of Arts in Theology from Covenant Seminary in St. Louis. For more information, as well as various blog entries, you can visit her website at www.katiepolski.com.