3 Ways Being Still Can Impact Your Life
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I love a good campfire. The roar and crackle of the flames as they dance across the wood is mesmerizing. A campfire marks that the day is nearing an end but hasn’t yet come to rest. My family and I like to gather around a campfire fairly often. After the kids have asked about a million times if they can throw a stick on the fire, things start to settle down. We then take medium-sized pieces of wood and gently shave off small slices into a box or onto the ground using pocketknives. If you want to, you can use them next time you need to start a fire (they work really well), but there really isn’t a use for them otherwise. The point of the shavings isn’t to accomplish anything specific. It is a simple task that requires you to slow down. It forces you to sit and to be still.
Sitting in stillness is difficult in a day and age filled with so much hurry and stress, but it allows your body to relax and recover from your busy day. Being still lets your mind escape from the endless notifications jumping up from your device, demanding your immediate and constant attention. Instead, your focus is on the knife, the piece of wood in your hands, and the fire. You can’t rush. If you rush and aren’t being measured with each slice, you’ll cut yourself. And as you gently cut, the pieces become thinner and thinner. At some point, you’re not even really cutting. You’re sliding the knife effortlessly away from yourself, watching the shavings fall to the ground over and over and over and over again. I love a good campfire. Things like this are more than just simple, enjoyable tasks. It actually benefits my overall life in more ways than I often realize.
I can spend hours by the fire as the sun fades into the night. As my family and I spend time in stillness, another amazing thing starts to happen. Conversation, authentic conversation. Not about the weather or the mundane repetitions of life. The conversation becomes richer. Deep laughter often erupts as we unpack the day’s activities. We talk about campfires past, past adventures, and adventures yet to come. We dream big dreams and even have the courage to share them. We sing songs of worship. Occasionally we even take time to devour some delicious s’mores. But the point is that our relationships grow deeper, and our love for one another is kindled higher as we spend time being still together around a campfire.
- Spiritual Health
To say it plainly, student ministry is difficult. I don’t know of anything I’ve ever done that demands all of who I am more often than ministering to students. In Matthew, we are told that if we want to be disciples, we must deny ourselves, pick up our cross, and follow Christ. This is impossible to do if we are consumed by the hurry and stress of living in this fallen world. How can I even consider what it means to live a surrendered life or to lay down my cross if I don’t find a way to quiet my soul? I need to make time to experience stillness. To think deeply about what it means to turn, truly turn, from my fleshly desires and embrace what it means to follow Christ. I love this quote from Eugene Peterson: "We speak our words of praise in a world that is hellish; we sing our songs of victory in a world where things get messy; we live our joy among people who neither understand nor encourage us. But the content of our lives is God, not humanity. We are not scavenging in the dark alleys of the world, poking in its garbage cans for a bare subsistence. We are traveling in the light, toward God who is rich in mercy and strong to save. It is Christ, not culture, that defines our lives. It is the help we experience, not the hazards we risk, that shapes our days.”
As I think about sitting by a campfire, I think about how I can infuse my ministry with that same amount of peace. How can I lead my team to stillness? I have to be still and absorb God’s presence first. We must sit together, learn together, dream together, and be in His presence together. It can’t be all about rehearsals, planning meetings, and honing our skills. To truly embrace our call to ministry, we must first learn how to sit by the fire and be still.
Are you able to be still and rest in the fact that He is God? Are you able to be gentle as you allow God to refine your sharp edges and nudge your team to do the same? Just like those wood shavings, a gentle hand is much more effective. If we force it, if we just push from one event to the next, we will break something. It will be ourselves, our family, our team, or any combination of those three.
How can you be more intentional in your quest for stillness? What (or where) is your campfire? I encourage you to get there more. Sit by more campfires. Be still. Be filled with His presence, and go lead your team.
Share your thoughts with others in our YM360 community:
- How often do you sit still and rest with the Lord? What rhythms do you have that have been helpful for you?
- How might your family or your ministry benefit from your willingness to spend time being still?
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