Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Be Still and Listen

If you have been a long time follower of AZ Mom of Many Hats Blog, you have probably noticed a bit of calm and quiet on the site. Much of life has been happening in the "Mom of Many Hats" household. There have been challenges, changes, and choices to be made.  Many of these things required a lot of reflection, introspection, emotional energy, and being still and listening.

Hence... A mom of few words....

But, this brings up a very important issue for moms (and dads) of many hats - the fact that we often refuse to let ourselves quiet and slow down and take the time to listen to life. It is so easy to be busy, to rush on to the next event or deadline, to pour energy into things that have no measurable value in our lives. We live in a world of distractions and busyness that allows us to be constantly in high gear. We choose to not downshift.  Let's be honest...often, we don't slow down so we don't have to listen to what life is shouting at us.

But why don't we want to be still and listen to what life is telling us?

It's Painful. When we stop and be still, there isn't as much action and white noise interfering with our thoughts and emotions.  We are faced with and forced to take a look at what is happening in our lives. Painful issues that we have been able to zip by may now become a place that we need to visit. When standing still, grief, fear, and frustration catch up to us.  We've slowed down the train, and they jump on.

It's humbling. At a standstill, the scenery and sounds are much clearer than when we are zooming by it at 100 mph.  Being still causes us to feel our size in the vastness of the universe, but at the same time, the enormity of the impact that we each can have in it.  We have the chance to step out of our own perceptions of what the world is to us (entitlement), and decide who we need to be to the world (obligation). It's a tough and humbling experience to realize just how inwardly you are living when you are not standing still and listening.

It's deafening. That old oxymoron - deafening silence, holds true here.  It is sort of like the few days in our recent history that no planes were flying in the air.  The absence of the white noise in the sky made the organic sounds of the world around us scream.  Standing still brings up organic sounds of life; the questions of calling and purpose, reassessing who we are, having to face issues of living and mortality, looking at our faith, questioning and preparing for the future.  When we are still and listening, these sounds can feel overwhelming.

Even though it can very difficult, there are reasons why we should stand still and listen.

It's eye opening. When we step back, be still, and listen, there is an opportunity to take stock of how we are living.  A moment of quiet shows where ways can be changed. Actions, heart, motivation, emotions, areas that need to be fixed or tweaked become clear to our site when there is a break in the busyness of existing.  Convictions and character can be solidified as a rock to stand on - and we can see the areas we would not change as well.

It's restorative. Because life is a work out, there needs to be rest. The work stretches, tears, and challenges our existence muscles.  Our physical bodies need rest when they have been challenged and worked.  It is the time where repair, restoration, and rejuvenation happens.  So it is with our minds, spirits, and wills as we walk through life.  Being still allows us to catch our breath, steady our steps, refuel, and move forward. It allows us to find perspective, hope, and reason that can get loss amongst the chaos that is often a part of day to day existence.

It's our obligations as good life stewards. Our life is something that we are called to steward - to manage with unselfish ownership and accountability. Part of that stewardship is stop, rest and listen.  If we are in perpetual motion and constant action, we are actually living an inwardly centered life.  Slowing down and reflecting allows us to "shut our mouths and open our ears" to truly see how we are impacting, and how the world is impacting us.  The key to life stewardship is recognizing the responsibility to take proactive assessments of how we are living and being in the world,  acting when acting is due, but also listening, resting, and being still when it is due. 

I confess, that there are times in my life that I keep busy so I don't have to hear what life and God are speaking into my heart.  It can hurt to be corrected, called out, and humbled by what you hear. It can be hard to hear and feel  emotions. It can also be scary to see the opportunities ahead that you can step into. But regardless of how much our minds and wills fight it, regardless of how much we don't want to be still and listen, it is a necessary and crucial step for us as people, as women, and as mothers.

Do you have a  hard time being still and listening? 
Do you do it willingly or does life have to force it upon you?