This week, winter showed up in Chicago. We’re talking snow and below freezing temperatures most of the day. The wind whips through barren trees and through all the layers I wear when I walk to different homes in the neighborhood. I forgot how much I despise winter in Chicago. This is the reason people move to Florida, isn’t it?
These days, though, marks a new season, a change. I think that’s one of God’s greatest gifts to us—changing seasons. Aren’t they beautiful? Isn’t the idea absolutely amazing? He gives us rhythms and newness. He brings new life and warmth and cold and everything in between. As much as I don’t love these winter days, I can’t help but marvel at His astonishing creativity.
Because every season brings something different. In the Midwest, spring brings new life. We look out our windows on those rainy days and know that buds will appear on the trees and burst from the ground. Summer is a sense of community and hustle as we leave our hibernation. We exchange cozy blankets and sweaters for tank tops and evenings in the park, days on the beach. Fall brings a harvest, a sense of preparation for the months ahead. We gather with friends and family and maybe become a little more reflective as the year winds down.
The Slow Winter
And then winter. The days are entirely too short, but somehow time seems to slow down—at least for me. Winter always seems to hang around a little too long for my liking, but there is a rhythm that comes with these days that I need. Because some days I can’t go out. Some days I can’t go run. Sometimes the last thing I want to do is leave my cozy, warm house, and life seems to slow down just a little.
These days I’m grateful for this slowdown. It’s been a sprint of a year, and I know that spring will bring the sprint again, but for now, I am fully embracing the change of pace. Because I meet the Father in the stillness.
This week—for the first time in too long—I didn’t run in the mornings. It’s really messed up my routine, and I don’t always love it. But it’s just too cold to run outside. I’m not that tough. So instead of waking up and rushing from one thing to another, I paused. I sat in the stillness of the morning and listened to the wind crash against the buildings and my windows and the cars parked on the street. And I breathed deeply.
I’ve noticed that stillness—literally sitting still—has triggered some anxiety for me recently. It’s been such an insane season since moving to Chicago that I fear I’ve lost the ability to sit and be. I think we need both in our lives—moving and going and shaking the earth, but also sitting and being and knowing that He is God. This anxiety and worry has bothered me for more reason than one, but for one thing, it’s hard to be a writer if you can’t sit still for a moment.
And it’s hard to hear from the Father if you can’t be still.
In The Stillness, He is There
“Be still and know that I am God.”
This week, I heard the Father whisper to my soul, “In the stillness, I am there. In the stillness, meet your Maker. In surrender, meet your Maker.”
We don’t need to be afraid of the stillness, the silence, the surrender that comes in this place. Here, we collide with our Maker, our Father, our God, who loves us deeply. In the stillness, we wait on the Lord. We pause andhear His voice. We should embrace the stillness, the changing seasons that call us into this space.
Yet, we shouldn’t stay here either. We shouldn’t set up camp on our couch, living and breathing in the stillness of our own little world and relationship with the Lord. This isn’t what He’s called us to. Our faith is a communal faith. Jesus called us to make disciples, to care for the orphans and widows. Our faith is active.
But what I learn and relearn and relearn time and again is that I am practically useless in these active seasons when I haven’t practiced stillness with the Lord first. I think this is true whether you are a stay-at-home mom, an entrepreneur, a business owner, a missionary, a doctor. Whoever you are. Wherever you are. Whatever you do.
Have you been still before the Lord?
May We Be Still
In Psalm 27:8, there is this beautiful passage that says, “My heart has heard you say, ‘Come and talk with me.’ And my heart responds, ‘Lord, I am coming.’” Is your heart still enough to hear His voice? Do you have enough time to respond, “Lord, I am coming”? Do I?
This winter, as more and more of us in these cold weather climates stay home where we are warm, may we take these moments to be still in the presence of the Lord. May we collide with Jesus. May we embrace the stillness enough to hear our Father say, “Come and talk with me.” And may we quickly respond, “Lord, I am coming!”