Eliminating hurry to just be still

One of my favorite events of the summer is the Perseid Meteor Shower that comes every year in mid-August.

My fascination in this meteor shower started for me in my late teens, early 20s. Before the school year started, I’d to stay out until 2 or 3 a.m. by the pool at my parents’ old house, reclined in a beach chair staring up at the night sky watching for meteors. We were in a rather big neighborhood, so the surrounding lights made visibility into the sky difficult, but the view was still good enough to catch a few meteors over those few hours.

Like I assume most people are to some degree, I’ve always been fascinated by space. Not so much in a way that I study it a ton, but just in a way where I’m perpetually in awe of it. The idea that there’s so much more than what our eyes can see on earth is incredible. It truly displays the magnificent creativity of God.

Up until last year, my wife Emily and I lived in the heart of Downtown Evansville, Indiana — a fairly large metropolitan city in Southwestern Indiana. There was no way I’d see any meteors at our house. So instead, I drove out to the northern part of the county — away from the lights and the hectic city scene.

I drove around until I found what looked like a good place to pull over and watch. I parked, set up my lawn chair, and waited. A subtle breeze grazed my skin as locusts chirped away. The only lights I saw were headlights of the few cars that passed me.

I took a moment to pray and thank God for such a beautiful and still night. As I neared the end of my prayer, I saw a meteor shoot across the sky out of the corner of my eye.

If you’ve never watched a meteor shower, I highly recommend it, especially if you can get to a secluded spot in the country on a clear night. It’s like watching nature’s own fireworks show.

I couldn’t help but notice my posture throughout all of this and how it resembles what our walk with Jesus should look like. I was only going to see meteors if my eyes were fixed on the sky. I wouldn’t see any if my head was buried in my phone or distracted doing anything else.

I had to get away from all the lights of the city — away from the hecticness — and head to the calm, still countryside if I wanted to see any meteors.

It’s nice to have that reminder of how we should live our lives. Sometimes we won’t hear what God is saying to us or see what God is trying to show us unless we are calm and still and fix our focus on Him. In his latest book The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry, John Mark Comer writes that “we are distracting ourselves into spiritual oblivion.” We are missing the work God is doing because we are doling out so much of our attention elsewhere.

To be perfectly honest, last year I had completely forgotten that the Perseids came every August. It wasn’t until I checked my Facebook Memories that I saw some of my old posts from my early 20s about it that it reminded me. I’d been so busy with my career as a teacher and a coach that it completely slipped my mind.

Something I looked forward to every summer and camped outside for had completely fallen off my radar. If we’re not careful, our relationship with Jesus can face the same outcome.

The Bible warns us against falling in love with our busy lives and tells us to be quiet and listen for God. Even in 2020 — the year of quarantine — it can be easy to get caught up in everything going on and let our relationship with Jesus take a backseat.

Through all the raging debates on social media over masks, schools reopening, the upcoming election, and racial unrest, don’t forget to let yourself rest and stay centered in Christ.

Allow the words of Psalm 46:10 to guide you:

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

The book of Samuel takes it a step further in 1 Samuel 12:16:

“Now therefore stand still and see this great thing that the Lord will do before your eyes.”

In a world that tells you that doing more means getting more, and getting more means you’re worth more, make it a priority to be still and listen to what God is trying to tell you.

That’s ultimately what fills you up more.