Still My Heart

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This past Saturday, I went on a women’s retreat to St. Adrew’s Abbey for some peace and quiet. The theme of the retreat was actually called “still my heart”, and ironically enough, my heart was far from still prior to this day. Faith is an interesting journey, a sometimes rocky and winding road that leaves us feeling exhausted.

Recently, it seems like every woman I talk to is struggling with pressure and guilt. Overwhelming feelings of shame, whether it be from past mistakes, present failures, or fears of the future. God kept putting on my heart that I am not alone in these feelings…it is not abnormal, but that doesn’t mean it’s the life He has for us.

The day of the retreat, I just didn’t have the strength to pretend to be perfect any longer. I was mentally, physically, and emotionally drained of all excess energy. Perhaps that it what it took for my heart to be still.

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At this monastery, there lived a monk who is 88 years old. He was from China, and was imprisoned for 25 years because of his faith. During his time in prison, he wrote a book of poems {which I purchased–it is truly amazing}, and it is shocking to me to see a faith so strong that not even 25 years of pain, suffering, solitude, and frustration could separate him from God.

I wonder if in the midst of those years, if he doubted God’s love. I realize that often times, I don’t allow God to be my Father. I don’t know if this stems from “daddy issues”, trust issues, or just my own heart issues, but I feel that I always have to fight and fend for myself. But if this monk could find such peace during 25 years of prison, surely I could find it in the midst of my own everyday life.

“The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”
-Exodus 14:14

This small, simple fact of truth astonishes me. God is watching over me…He can handle my issues…but I simply need to be silent {something my heart and mind are not very good at}. During the retreat, one of the women asked if any of us struggle with prioritizing quiet time…time for peace…stillness…relaxation. I realized that while God commands this of me, it is still an area I feel guilty in. I feel guilty for taking a break, sitting down, taking a breath…I feel that I should be doing more, could be doing more. But God reminded me that my anxiety and stress would diminish if I would simply be still. That perhaps my tasks would be completed more efficiently if I could still my heart.

I sat by the pond for an hour and meditated on this, not even “praying” much, but allowing God to calm my heart and soul.

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I don’t know what battles you are facing today, what guilt is consuming you, what pressures are surrounding you, or what anxieties may be hurting you. But I do know that my problem was control…and giving up my control and laying my worries at the feet of Jesus makes everything better. That day, as I hiked alone, I left a rock there to symbolize my troubles…these heavy burdens I carried…they were now in His hands.

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You probably can’t become a monk today, or throw your iPhone out the window, or give up on all contact, work, or anxieties that the world may bring. But when we practice constant communication, daily stillness, and quiet time with God, perspective arrives, and worries don’t have as much room to live in our hearts anymore.

I challenge you to begin each morning for one week with a 30 minute quiet time. This might require discipline, waking up earlier, or going to bed earlier. You are worth it, God is worth it, and your heart needs stillness before the craziness of the day begins.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Tanya says:

    Such a beautiful place. I have definitely been challenged at this bust time in my life to be still and quiet… Thank you for this. And I will def be taking the challenge each morning this week!!

  2. Katherine Salter says:

    St. Andrew’s Abbey is one of my (and my mom’s) favorite places!! It is filled with such beautiful peace; God’s presence is tangible in the stillness. Thank you for the reference to the Exodus verse. I needed that reminder.

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