This summer has been such a quiet, still, slow time for me. Which to many, may seem boring. But it has been anything but- and actually, I’m not in New York, I’m in College Station. I am daydreaming about my favorite city not because I am unhappy about where I am now or worse- bored. But, sometimes in the midst of life we get too caught up in what is about to happen we don’t process what has happened. So that’s been this time, this season for me.
I am extremely extroverted. I mean like when I have had a bad day, the last thing I desire is to be alone- I tend to crave quality time with people I love. I enjoy crazy schedules, planning, knowing, going- I can’t even study in complete silence. It is almost like the silence is too loud. Some people (hopefully I am not alone in this) understand where I am coming from, others of you probably think I am crazy (but whats new?). Something crazy has happened this summer- I have learned to love the quiet. I haven’t quite mastered the skill of driving in silence- but I am a work in progress. I don’t dread or avoid alone time. I have learned to be still. Well, I am in the process of learning to be still. Psalm 46:10 is the popular verse people associate with the Christian Buzz word “still.” However, I would like to point out all of chapter 47!! (Go go crack open your bible- and read)
It is titled: God is King over All the Earth. See that part?? ((ALL)) He is King over ALL the Earth. Not just bits and pieces, not just when we can vividly see Him moving, not just sometimes, but All. Which means He is in your corner. The chapter starts with rejoicing-so get pumped. I could go verse by verse and explain each phrase and meaning but, for the sake of time, I am just going to explain my take away.
Typically, my summers since I have been in college are filled with giant radical God moments that are so bold and cool. I got to work at camp two full summers in a row. I have stories that could go on for hours, but again for the sake of time, I will stop there. When I made the Big-Girl-I’m-Gonna-Be-Responsible-I-Should-Take-Class-And-Be-#Adulting decision for this summer, I was nervous. I knew I would have fewer commitments, assignments, friends in town, photography jobs, etc. What would I do with myself? So, I started with making a list- I am not kidding- a list titled “Things To Do When You Run Out of Things to Do” and it’s 57 bullet points long. Like I said, I really hate the idea of being bored. So I know what you’re thinking! “What’s wrong with a list?, Seems organized!” Well, the main problem with my list is it left very little room to slow down. I am proud to say I haven’t needed to use the list one time. Not because I have a full social calendar or a bunch of exciting things happening, but because I have developed deeper relationships with peers, journaled so much, and fallen even more in love with the Lord.
I knew that this season was a time that needed me to slow, to rest, and to rest in Him. I tend to avoid reflection time, and I like to blame it on my busy schedule. Well jokes on me, because this summer I have seen the Lord move in the simplest and sweetest ways. I have gotten to know some really awesome high school girls who are so thirsty and on fire for the Lord. I have spent really good time in the word- like the kind where I don’t have to monitor the clock and make sure I am not running late to something. And it is good. It has been so refreshing. I have been able to process and dream and create. But, I am still extroverted Madi, I still desire adventure and spontaneity- this season of “slow” does not define me but the Lord is using it to teach me to center Him, to be in prayer, to journal, to reflect.
I have always loved New York City (yes, I know the city that NEVER sleeps is a horrible example for a blog about being quiet and still- but just hear me out.) I have loved the city since I was little. When I was 10, I created a folder that had “New York City” in the best block letters a ten-year-old could write sketched out on the front cover. I kept it safely in my desk drawer. I would print out pictures, write stories, dream about the city in that folder. My folder had all of the best things about NYC and none of the bad, it was perfect. When I was older, I went to the city for the first time with my mom, and it was better than I could have ever imagined. Unfortunately, we went in August- let me tell you- it is H-O-T, and this is coming from a Texas girl (like I understand and respectfully dread the heat) but nonetheless; the heat, the noise, the traffic, the expensive prices- none of those things stopped my love for the city. When I returned to Texas, the folder remained in my drawer but now contained pictures that I captured myself. Still, the folder remained perfect- only containing the best parts- I refused to put in the picture of me frowning at the camera because of the heat or standing in line or the receipts of the overpriced meals. The folder was still my perfect New York City folder.
I think our lives, our Instagram, our Facebook are the same way. We try and mold our lives to be busy to fill these platforms- to seem interesting, cool, and exciting. Or maybe it’s not to produce the perfect Instagram post with a perfectly matching caption but you are busy and distracted to avoid pain, loss, or heartache. Maybe you can’t slow down because you’ve started a new career, family, or fill in the blank subject to consume your time. At least for me, I avoid reflection so I don’t have to think about pain. But the thing is- The Lord has seen our pretty perfect folders and our not so pretty folder that maybe hidden deep within a corner that nobody knows about. But guess what!! He still loves us. He wants to spend time with us, wants us to know Him on the most intimate level. So slow down, be quiet, be still and rest in the Lord. Get in the word (still see Psalm 47), sit down in your room and shut the door and pray, journal, draw, do what ever you need to do to have Jesus be your center.
I wish I had the answer on how to be still always, or be quiet always, or be slow always- but I don’t. I am a work in progress. But this time, this season has been so good and not because of all that I am doing, but because of all He has done.