I wasn't born with an innate love of quiet and stillness. Case in point: Growing up my Dad nicknamed me "M.A." to be utilized in circumstances in which I was acting particularly rowdy. "M.A." stood for Maximum Annoyance. As you might imagine I wasn't fond of the not-so-endearing term but I was even less fond of being still or quiet.
Thankfully, as I matured, so did my behavior. I stayed loud and rambunctious but lost the maximum annoyance flare. By high school my "rambunctious" behavior had transformed into studying for tests and belting out musical productions on the stage and worship songs in church. I grew up but I didn't grow quiet or still, just a different, more agreeable, variety of noisy.
It wasn't until I became sick and weak that my voice began to quiet and my speed began to slow. I didn't take kindly to losing my rambunctious spirit. For years, nearly all seven years of my illness, I fought hard to keep the volume of my life as loud as possible and the pace as quick as I could manage. As I deteriorated physically that fight became an all-out battle with more losses than wins and more tears than celebrations.
When the frailty of my body finally forced me to surrender to the quiet life I threw fits. When I could no longer resist stillness I wailed like I was being tortured. If ever there was a time to don the nickname "M.A." those tantrums were the time.
It took becoming deathly sick and completely physically depleted to realize that stillness isn't a curse. The still, quiet life is actually a blessing.
Before my health became so compromised I thought a full life was defined as one bursting with adventure, excitement, experiences, going and doing. I was blind to the ill effects of needing to be surrounded by constant activity and incessant noise. I was unwilling to surrender to the silence. I didn't want to embrace the quiet.
But God works in mysterious ways. He has used my illness to open my eyes to see the precious blessings found only in quiet life. God has shown me a life of bliss in the stillness.
Despite my reluctance, God's pursuit of my surrender to the quiet life has been relentless. He has pulled me away from the world so that I can experience the serenity of His presence. God has revealed to me that my identity, contentment and fulfillment do not come from doing, accomplishing and experiencing. My worth and purpose are found in Christ. Peace, rest and joy are found in His quiet presence.
Whether ill or in full health, I have life to the fullest because I have my life hidden in the quiet, still and eternal life of Jesus Christ.