Be Still

I wanted to stay home last Friday. I’ve been at school nearly every day except Sunday for the past month. I decided I’d take the day off, since I don’t have classes — well, sort of. I’d sleep in, do home work in the comfort of my own home, drink tea, and maybe even visit the store.

But then I got an email. I had to go for a costume fitting in the middle of the afternoon. I grumbled and griped and wondered why a 20 minute costume fitting an hour away had to ruin my Friday.

Yet from some place inside of me, I heard the words: Be still.

I wanted to get out of there as fast as I could. I put the costume on hastily, passed people with a warm smile to avoid small talk, and walked as fast as I could. But then I remembered: be still. And I tried to breathe and remember that this day might be good in other ways I’d never expected.

I spent the rest of the afternoon at Starbucks. A Pumpkin Spice Latte, courtesy of a coupon, and my History home work in hand. And in the buzz of the afternoon coffee shop rush and my growing to-do list, I heard the voice again. And it told me to be still.

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Be still. Be still. Be still.

As you practice the songs for your voice mid-term and try to reach the high notes and act and sing from your core at the same time. While rehearsing the scene that scares you and makes you better at the same time. When you’re in rehearsal all Saturday, but painting sets instead because they’re behind on the show. In all the chaos of school, and the mess of life. As you try to live, love, and breathe. I told myself this paragraph again and again and again this week.

But its hard. Impossible, almost. To quiet yourself in the midst of the pain, angst, busyness, and pressures of life. To be still when you have to run everywhere just to keep up. To trust in the God who holds you in His hand and know that He is with you. Yet, all He asks is that we just be still in His presence.

For a second. Try it. For a minute. Not too long. Just be still.

That’s been my motto this week. In the tough times, the weak times. In the rush and the hub and the worry and fear. Be still. Be still. Be still.

I had the voice midterm on Tuesday. I got a B. My teacher says she rarely gives A’s on midterms. But I’m still not happy with how I sang and I know I could have done better and–be still, the Voice says.

We presented our scene — my scene partner and I. We did our very best, after weeks of working, trying, risking, failing. And at the end, I remembered to be still.

I’m dead tired tonight. I spent the evening, unmotivated, trying in vain to find sources for my History project. I should do some more homework and my room’s a mess and I should pack lunch for tomorrow, but all I want to do is curl up in bed. Be still.

This post was supposed to be published a week ago, but it just wasn’t. Be still.

There is so much I want to write and share and communicate. But the clock is ticking and I have homework to do and a bus to catch. Be still.

He says, ”Be still, and know that I am God;

I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth.”

Psalm 46: 10

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Choosing Joy

There’s a life-eating-monster I’ve sadly come to know in the past few years. He likes to tell us the lies that we’re not good enough and that we’ll never meet that high expectation of excellence. This monster eats away at our souls and everything that was good is turned to bad. He makes our lives painful where they could be happy. And he abides in the minds of many people, young and old — if they let him. His name is stress and he lives to shatter our joy.

Sound familiar? I hope not, but I’m guessing that it does.  If you’re like me, stress has been the source of many unpleasant days, a thousand tears, and most of all, that horrible mongering, sickening fear of missing the mark. He’s the reason that we cannot be happy.

However, I think I’ve found the cure for this disease or the sword to fight this villain we call stress. I’ve been learning about trusting the Love. I’ve been realizing that He knows all things, even when I don’t. And through all that, I’ve found out that despite stress, it is possible to choose joy.

Perhaps its hard not to give into that stress that we so often feel. Maybe happiness takes more effort. But joy is available. And it is so very much better than choosing the monster. It just takes trust, effort, and making that choice.

So today, let’s kick stress and choose joy. I know that I’m going to make that choice. When the power goes out, I’ll enjoy the apples and bread that we have, play the piano in the dark, walk to Starbucks in the rain, and take silly pictures on the couch. If I’m battling a cold and there’s studying to be done and a Spanish classes to assist in, I’ll make a cup of tea, fill my pocket with kleenex, and enjoy what I can. In the deciding moments when I don’t know which way to go, I’ll celebrate the scholarships and good grades, work hard at what I’m not good at, pray and apply to where I think I need to go, and trust the Holy Spirit with the rest. 

Yes, today I’m choosing joy.