Thursday, March 14, 2013

Be still.

My favorite book, Ella Enchanted, by Gail Carson Levine (Surprise! I want to hear from you if you actually knew that.) includes a passage that has particularly stayed with me.
"Mandy says there are two sorts of people in the world: those who blame everyone else and those who blame only themselves.  I place myself in a third category: among those who know where the blame really lies."
I think I like this quote so much because I particularly resonate with it.  I consider myself to be a "big-picture" thinker.  Ask me to choose a side, and, more often than not, I won't be able to, because I can all-too-clearly understand the various positions involved.  It makes life rather hard.  This same thinking has led me to be able to think my actions through to their possible ends, and make day-to-day decisions accordingly.

I think the best example of how this has played out in my life would be when we first moved to Maryland.  At the time, we moved into an apartment with the intention of moving into a house after a couple of months.  We knew the situation was temporary.  So I decided the best course of action would be to not make any close friends.  I had a couple that I spent a little time with; one even watched my guinea pig, but I don't recall ever spending time with people from school outside of the classroom.  I had church friends, for sure, but, even those I didn't allow to get too close.  I chose to live alone during that time, rather than allowing people to get close and having to say goodbye to them again.  It was the most convenient path.  It's been tempting for me to slip into this way of thinking while in Korea, too, and, for a period, I think I was doing it subconsciously.

May I offer you some advice?

Don't do this.

Sure, think about your future; make wise choices; but do not live in the future.  This is for the same reasons that we're told not to live in the past: You have no control over the future - you can't change it; just let it be.

I know this may seem counter-intuitive, and, technically, it's wrong.  Technically, you have a vast amount of control over the future, but, seeing as you can only guess at how your actions will pan out in the future (and you can only ever know for sure how you controlled the future after it's the past), I'm going to argue that we have no legitimate power over the future.  It only shows us the report card at the end of the semester, and lets us hang it on the fridge or hide it under a stack of bills.

Since that is the case, I would highly recommend employing a methodology that occurred to me in Germany:

"Be still and know that I am G-d." -Psalm 46:10

We usually interpret this to mean something along the lines of being quiet or calming our hearts, but what it the double play on the English words is a legitimate one?  What if this verse is also encouraging us to continue to be?  Look at it like this:

"[Continue to be] and know that I am G-d."

We are not designed to be walking around, living in dreams and what-ifs.  We are designed to thrive, to  excel.  If we are constantly debating how our actions will play out in the future, everything around us will pass, and all we will have is a life lived out in theory, a virtual life that is no better than the simulated lives we create for ourselves in video games.  We are called to continue to live, continue to focus, continue to be.

In Germany, I challenged myself to do something every day that I came to term "presencing."  If I were a dictionary, I would define this word as follows:
presencing - vb - the act of being fully aware of and fully participating in the situation around oneself.
Whenever I felt my mind start to wander from the amazing situation in which I found myself, I halted it in its tracks.  Whenever I started to close myself off because I would only be in Germany for a couple of months, I purposefully did something to open myself more to situation.  As a result, Germany became etched in my mind as one of the most life-changing experiences I've ever had.

I want to encourage you to try some true presencing.  Focus on the people around you; the laundry can wait.  Take a day off of work and go see that site you keep meaning to visit; a few less dollars won't kill you (in fact, a year from now, you probably won't even remember how much money you didn't make that day, but you will remember the trip).

Society calls this being "irresponsible"; I call this being alive.

"Therefore you shall not be concerned about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be concerned for itself. A day's own trouble is sufficient for it." (Matthew 6:34 ABPE)


  1. Ahhhhhhhhhhh I love this post sooooooooooo much. Its probably a combination of understanding how much it took for you to come to this point, and how relevant this is for me in my own life :) Well said, My Dearest! Very well said!

  2. This is great. I feel like I can relate to this so much! Thanks for sharing