Most school mornings I take a walk around the park across from my daughter’s school. I’ve found that if I do it immediately after dropping her off each day, it may possibly get accomplished. (Yikes! That explains the waistline change.) The park is fairly good size and is in the middle of a busy area surrounded by homes, apartments and schools. Yet it is a bit of green in the midst of concrete and asphalt. I use that time to contemplate and plan my day but some days (actually most days) it’s hard. Why? Let’s start with loud mufflers on cars and trucks, motorcycles, commercial aircraft coming in for final approach to the airport, and the most annoying of all, leaf blowers. I hate those things. I can understand how they make lawn care a bit more productive. But do they really have to be so loud?
Sometimes a person needs a little peace and quiet to plan their day and solve problems. It’s nice to hear the wind rustle the tree leaves. I’d occasionally like to hear myself talk to myself. By the way talking to yourself isn’t always the sign of mental instability; it just means you’re a mother. Wait, being a mother can make one mentally instable.
Last Friday instead of taking my walk after dropping my daughter off at school, I got her up early and we had a breakfast picnic at the Gilbert Riparian Reserve. For those of you not familiar with the
area, it is an extremely large area for being in the midst of dense dwellings which contains 7 small lakes they use as a final process in water treatment before it enters the aquifer. It is a manmade wetland in the midst of desert suburbia and has become a wildlife refuge and showcase for native vegetation. Phoenix, AZ
We arrived early in the morning with our bagels and walked up to the gazebo on the highest hill in the preserve.
The sun was just coming up and the ducks were quacking. We were far enough away from the road for the car sounds to be muffled. It was peaceful and the first thing to pop into my head was the words to the song we sometimes sing during worship that goes “Be still and know that I am God.” It comes from Psalm 46.
I wonder why it was important for the Israelites to hear those words. They didn’t have automobiles or planes or even leaf blowers and loud TVs to disturb their thoughts.
As we walked through the preserve disturbing the bunnies, song birds, hummingbirds and burrowing owls with only the sounds of our footsteps on the path, I thought about what may have caused the Israelites to need that admonition. The only thing I could think of was they were too busy with their everyday lives to contemplate God and His Word or notice the power of His creation all around them.
I think I’ve been guilty of the same thing. Oh, I blame it on the outside noises or the inside noises when my husband turns the TV up so loud you can hear it from the driveway (I think it’s a guy thing). But often it’s the job or the laundry or the errands that get in the way. I’m so busy with the “hear and now” that I forget about the hereafter. I have to make time to stop, be still, be quiet and really hear His Word when I read it. I need to contemplate it as I go through my day and figure out how I should apply it to my life.
As we left the preserve, we made a plan to come back again to this beautiful and peaceful place. (We did. It is great that Princess is a high school senior and can drive herself to school now, but I really miss those special times.) And as I headed back to the house after dropping my daughter off at school, I asked God for forgiveness and asked for His help to set aside time to read and pray in a quiet place each day and to take a few minutes during my everyday tasks to stop and contemplate His Word and its application to what I am doing at the moment.
I’m not saying I’m perfect at it. I’m not even sure I’m good at it. But, I’m aware of the need to do it for my spiritual self to grow and stay faithful. I have to admit on the days I’m successful, I have more inner peace. And for a working wife and mother with a high stress job, any amount of inner peace is a good thing.
So if you are familiar with the tune of the song that goes “Be still and know that I am God”, sing it in your head or even better sing it out loud; especially if things are getting a bit out of control. If you aren’t familiar with the song, turn in your Bible to Psalm 46. Then find a quiet spot and thank God for the good things in your life and for help in using the principles found in His Word to deal with the tough things.
“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10 [NIV]