Slowness vs. Stillness

I’m learning that time is precious. Time with people, Time with yourself, time with Jesus. How I spend my time determines whether or not I am fueled. Often I spend it consumed by something: people, social media, homework, TV - you get the picture. I'm always in this revolving door, moving from one thing to the next. Missing in the equation is time that is slow and still.

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There’s this idea I have, that slowing down doesn’t equate to being still. Slowing down is a change in the pace, but not a change in the heart. Your heart and soul can still grow rubbery, like an office rubber band. You can slingshot it across the room; it can snap oh-so-easily, one moment sturdy and reliable, yet another all over the place.

Slowing down is essential – yes, sometimes you need to just lie around your house all day, lose yourself in a book, or a TV series. Sometimes you need to step out of this instant, on-demand world and participate in the things that take time.

But stillness stops the creeping calcification of your being and answers the ache. Slowing down is often easy, but stillness can be a battle. Sometimes it feels like you’re putting yourself in timeout when you sit alone without the noise, with your thoughts and God. When you set aside the stream of technology to reflect, to submit, to listen.

Stillness is a practice too easily lost, cast aside when there’s no motivation or schedules fill up – yet there’s still time to watch an episode of your favorite show or make that time-consuming dinner. I’m learning to prioritize stillness, because it rebuilds me. I am weak, but in the stillness I find my strength. It’s like a reverse Jenga: the pieces of me are placed back in their proper place.

Slowness and stillness often layer on top of each other – yet I’ve come to this conclusion: you can have slowness without stillness, but you can’t have stillness without slowing down. Stillness is the IV we often rip out, rejecting the drip containing our lifeline. Why, I can’t comprehend. Being still keeps you alive.