Saturday, February 16, 2013

Staring Into The Flames

Stop. Be Still. Take a deep breath. Just relax.

It’s easier said than done especially when I feel the urgency of the needs around me, or can’t escape the calendar filled with church and ministry activities, work, kids’ appointments, fundraising, homework, and on and on and on…

Lately I feel crushed as each day seems to step over me in its rush to get to the next. Thankfulness is always the first thing that goes because I simply run out of time to savor the moments, drink them in, and thank the God who gave them to me.  It’s never one big thing but the addition of one little thing after another little thing that leaves me so tired. Frustration creeps in as I think of where I want to be and feel that I just can’t muster the strength to get there.

I didn’t notice how worn out I really was until a few weeks ago. My parents came to visit for a week and we enjoyed every minute with them. A highlight was an overnight trip to the coast. We built a bonfire on the beach and I realized how much my head was longing to feel empty.

On any given day my head is filled with questions, self-evaluations, and suggestions for improvement...not to mention dozens of tiny details. Maybe it’s the curse of the analytical, but regardless, I was long overdue for a good head-emptying. I needed to just sit and stare at the flames, and listen to the ocean, and watch the stars reach down.

Rest is a discipline…I am learning this. There is a discipline in sitting still and just letting things be for an hour or two. God Himself calls us to rest, to reflect, and lay it all down. We need the perspective, and we need to remember it’s not about us after all. We are just small players in a big story…one that spans ages, and nations, and all people.

When I focus on my own little storyline, my own little part, it’s hard to just stop and relax. When I refuse to be still, I am the one who loses. But, when I reflect on God’s greater story I have the opportunity to give thanks, to feel small, and to simply stare into the flames.

How do you find moments of rest and reflection? Are you the kind of person who needs to make this a discipline in your life or does it just come naturally for you?


  1. Thank you for this, Danielle! I've had a hard time making time for rest and just "being" lately. So much to do, so little time, and I struggle with feeling stressed when I try to rest during those busy periods. But it is so needed! I go through phases when rest is natural and built in, and when I just can't seem to figure it out. I am in the second of those phases right now. I've been struggling with the false belief that if I work hard enough, I can make situations better and make life run smoother. I can make things work better on the outside and I can "get things done," but not at greater expense than it is worth! I appreciate your words and look forward to building in some needed rest into this busy day, somehow!

  2. I've struggled with this, but don't have any choice after the recent surgeries. I end up in the hammock or in a recliner for now, but I prefer to relax and "regroup" in nature--camping is the ultimate! We do live near a river now, so when I can, I take my spot on a bench there and watch the sun go down.

  3. Nature always helps me get some perspective too...I am trying to build "rest" into my life in a better way. Even just five minutes standing's far too easy to get caught up in all of the "to-do's."