A few weeks ago, I attended a writing conference. I was not truly interested in hearing one more workshop about story structure, plot devices, or how to brand myself or sell my books. What I needed was time to write. And I needed something to jump start my creative juices.
Every day I’m on the go. I have a list beside my laptop of all the deadlines I need to meet and the people I need to touch base with. This list also contains items that I need or want to work on like this blog or a leadership course I’m taking as part of my DAR membership. I also have a goal sheet above my desk that outlines all I’d like to accomplish this year.
As a result of all these lists, I find myself without much down time. So when I was at the writing conference the workshop “Creative Nature Walk” seemed to appeal to me. I was ready to just be with nature – God’s creation – and let the muses speak to me. And I was not disappointed!
The leader of our walk wasn’t just there to lead us in the way we’d walk around the gorgeous Grove City College campus, she was there to lead our writing as well. She started with a few Bible scriptures about Truth, Peace, Righteousness, and Mercy. She said that we’re so ingrained in our society to look down (at our phones, our laptops, etc.) that we forget to look up. That was the purpose of our walk – to look up, away from the tasks of the day, and to see God in our surroundings.
When we got to our first “station” on the walk, she indicated benches and luxurious, green grass on which to sit and invited us to simply take in our surroundings. Journal, take pictures, draw … whatever. We would have ten minutes.
I dug into the exercise and began journaling, breathed in the fresh air, soaked up the warm sun, and snapped a few pics on my camera. Done! I completed the task! Just like I do every day in my real life. Except … our ten minutes wasn’t up. Others were still writing, enjoying the sun, and taking photos. So I wrote some more in my journal. But the time was still not up and I found myself becoming restless.
How hard was it for me to be still! Ten minutes doesn’t seem like that long of a time when we are faced with so many chores during our day, but when faced with nothing BUT time … it can be a long time to bear! I began to contemplate how hard it was to be still and yet how essential it really is in our daily lives.
Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” How often do we do that? I know I’m rarely still. I even have trouble sleeping! I have a long list of to-do items, after all! But God tells us to truly know Him, we must first be still.
I figured maybe this stillness was what I had been missing in my life. Since that day during my writing conference I am striving to find a bit of stillness in my every day life. It might just mean a few minutes of quiet on my patio or a short walk without a podcast or music playing in my ear. Sometimes it means just taking a deep breath and feeling God’s presence beside me.
I have been able to write more since that time and I feel a sense of peace in my life now. I know it was exactly what I needed to learn during my writing conference adventure.
I hope you will seek out a moment to be still today. While you do, give up your thoughts to God. Feel free to write what comes to your mind in a journal, but don’t feel like you HAVE to write or do ANYTHING during this time. Just … be still.