The end of the rope was near. Involved in several projects that were zapping my strength instead of replenishing it, I knew a break was necessary despite some very pressing deadlines. I was smack dab in the middle – the uncomfortable in between of roaring pressure and endless tasks. Working inside when I longed to be outdoors was tough, especially when summer fades into autumn. The crispness in the air was lovely, but unfortunately also a reminder these warm, sunny days luring me outside were limited in number.
I needed to pull back to sit down and relax on the inside. So I grabbed my dog, got in the car and headed north to walk in the cornfields of the numerous farms in the area. If you are in northern Illinois, it seemed like an appropriate way of taking a breather without shrinking back.
You can embrace quiet without giving in. You can say no to the hustle of your projects, of your life and still be saying yes in obedience. Choosing relaxation does not mean shutting down or worse, giving up. Chasing a still moment doesn’t mean your work has to suffer or you’ll miss an opportunity. Finding a way of putting up a Do Not Disturb sign is actually a gift to your soul.
Intentionally scheduling a quiet break when your soul has had enough and your body is exhausted is recognizing your limits. Society glorifies busy, but busyness can actually harm your relationship with God and others. Sometimes we just need the quiet to wrestle with our thoughts, to bathe in God’s love telling us we are brave, strong and beautiful. And to silently give control back to the One who always had it, God.
Frustration, anger and loneliness can cause tension when all you see are the piles, projects and programs and not the heart of God. Exodus 14:14 tells us, “The Lord will fight for you; you only need to be still.” No matter how squeezed you feel, God can breathe in something new. He can tend to whatever wounds bruise your soul.
In the hushed quiet of cornstalks gently waving in the breeze, I recognized those things in my life that made my life worth living, my story worth telling. In a place of your own choosing, you also can find the same confidence, courage and dignity.
We must work. We must complete our projects. We must finish those daily checklists. But it is not normal to live so hurried. Our doing should never explain our being. When we are so busy doing, we tend to lose sight of all we are.
Yes, I got behind a little during my day on the farm. Yes, I felt the pressure of not pushing myself further. But the hushed cathedral of cornfields stretching as far as the eye could see brought a healing. As I walked among the silence, the pressure inside started to lessen and eventually turned to sweet relief. I didn’t know how much I craved the silence until all the noise disappeared. Then I was happy I had listened to the pull inside my heart to take the day and find a quieter place; a place that was washed with the presence of God.
The day brought radiance to my soul. That alone felt so good. Sometimes we need to savor the silence, to embrace rest and chose the unhurried path. Occasionally running the race He has called us to do means slowing down, embracing the silence and snuggling close to God. Only then can we unwind with relief.