Ah, the never-ending, wild race of life. I can smell it from the moment I roll out of bed at 4:30am. It has the tinge of fresh coffee, open windows, and the breath of a hungry cat or three (pleasant). From the time I get up in the morning until 12 hours later when I get home from work, I rarely stop moving. And sometimes not even then.
Twice as hectic as the pace of life is the pace of mind. If I’m not actively working, I’m thinking about it. The million things I did today, want to do still, will do tomorrow. And I know I’m not alone in this crazy pace of living. There seems to be no end to the demands on our time. On our minds. On our peace.
Why is it so hard to pause? To breathe? Well, because if we don’t do it—whatever “it” may be—who’s gonna? If we aren’t handling things, they’re going to fall apart. Who’s going to win the battles of life if we aren’t in them—constantly, endlessly at work?
And yet. People designed for work we are—to tend the Garden, to rule over the creatures, to labor for a living—but we were created in the image of a Holy God who also took a day of rest.
Do we rest? Do we stop moving physically, but race ahead a mile a minute mentally? Is our rest truly rest, or is it a forced physical pause until we can get moving again.
When I think of this concept, I flash back to a scene in Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace. In a three-way duel between Jedi mentor and apprentice Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan and their nemesis Darth Maul, there comes a point mid-battle where the three are separated from one another by laser barriers. It’s a forced pause. There is no moving forward—not yet.
Darth Maul scowls and paces. Obi-Wan stands tense, ready for anything. Yet Qui-Gon kneels. Closes his eyes.
Not just a forced physical pause. But a mental settling.
How often when at rest do we truly go still? Do we truly strive for peace? Do we rattle the bars of this cage, fighting the pause enforced on us, or do we lean into it? Embrace it?
Stillness is more than rest. It is that mental settling. It’s inner quiet where we actually stop all the work, all the frenzied racing, all the harried rushing. Where the heart and mind are at peace and we let go of the things that need to happen tomorrow, today, right this very second or else. Let the battle go for a moment, and breathe.
It’s in those moments of stillness that we connect on a deeper level with our Creator. Where it becomes easier to hear His voice. When it stops being about us and everything we need to do and becomes clearer than ever what He wants for us and from us.
“Peace, be still,” Jesus said to the tempestuous waves.
“Be still, and know that I am God,” Yahweh tells us through the Psalms.
It can sometimes feel like failure or laziness to lean into a pause, into rest, into peace. It’s not. It’s refreshment for the body and restoration for the soul. It helps us keep a healthy perspective on the fact that we are not the masters of the universe, the ones responsible to keep the cogs spinning. It brings us face to face with the One whose plans and purposes we are walking out—and when we embrace Him, embrace the rest and peace He has in store for us, we are better able to understand that we are not facing this hectic, wild, fast-paced life and all its challenges and have-to’s and deadlines and needs alone.
“I will fight for you,” our Father says. “You need only be still.”