Originally published Wednesday, 14 October 2015.
Not long after my stepfather died, I was in such inner turmoil that I laced up my running shoes and took off on a long, fast, hard run. For those that workout regularly, this might seem like a completely natural thing to do. I, however, do not run and the burn in my lungs quickly caused me to gasp for air, but I was devastated and wanted so badly for the pain I was feeling to leave that I kept going.
I’m sure many of you have been reading about The Struggle to Live a Still Life while gasping for air. Your lungs are burning and you might even be thinking that it’s time to give up on the hope of a whole and healthy life.
If there’s anything I need to convey about stillness, it’s that it’s a fight to the finish. It’s about learning to find peace and contentment within the hard knocks. It’s about praying while running, and seeking while breathing hard.
If stillness came easy there wouldn’t be anything at all sweet about it.
But stillness is sweet.
It’s sweet because it’s hard earned, draped in humility, and the focus is completely on God. There’s nothing self-seeking about living still, and when we are able recognize that we see everything differently.
Early in the series we talked about John soaring like and eagle, and the opportunity to be living stones in rotation around the SON. All of that requires an outer focus full of commitment, knowing that the payout will eventually be the words well done good and faithful servant.
Real Runners run because they want the payout. The slimmer physique and the elation that comes from a great serotonin rush makes them feel alive, and they work extremely hard to achieve it.
And guess what?
People who long for stillness must accept that it’s not going to be easy, and that the word still doesn’t really mean what they think when looking at it under a spiritual microscope. “Spiritual serotonin levels,” which is joy, actually comes from one small victory at a time.
Stillness requires commitment.
It’s a commitment to say, “Your will be done, Lord.” It’s a commitment to keep on keeping on when everything is turning upside down.
Lace up your running shoes and prepare for the workout of a lifetime. In fact, it lasts for one.
Embrace the great mystery of stillness and commit to small victories. You’ll never be sorry you did!
Make me hear joy and gladness , that the bones you have broken may rejoice.
If you’ve missed an part of my series, The Struggle to Live a Still Life, click here and scroll down for a list of links to previous posts.