O Lord, my heart is not proud nor my eyes haughty; nor do I involve myself in great matters, or in thing too difficult for me. Surely I have composed and quieted my soul; like a weaned child rests against his mother. My soul is like a weaned child within me. O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forever. ~Psalm 131~
If you know me, I am not one to slow down naturally. I am an active person, who loves to run, hike, workout, and be outside. Slowing down and sitting is not something natural for me. Yet, this past week I had a virus I was fighting, so I was forced to slow down. I had a lot of time to read, reflect and write. I came to realize I need to remember to take time to slow down to be present and silent in order to listen to the Lord. Slowing down this past week has been a reminder for me of the season of Advent before it comes.
We are about to enter what is always one of the busiest times of year. Maybe it is no coincidence that the church calendar begins with the season of Advent at this time too. Advent is about waiting, hoping, longing, slowing down, being patient, being present, looking inward to discern what is missing in your life, and reflecting on how Jesus can fill it.
But the holiday season makes this hard. We speed up, fill up our schedules, and distract ourselves with so many other things—often good things—that it is difficult to slow down and be fully present. Advent is a season of slowing down and being fully present. I find it a little ironic that our society has made it one of the busiest times of year.
One way I found to have peace of mind while I was sick was lighting a candle. I have found that lighting a candle and settling down with a good book and my journal in the evening before I go to bed gives me a moment of peace. The candle light and the calmness in the room allows me to relax. The candle light gives me peace and reminds me of the simplicity of slowing down. The light and the smell of pine trees coming from the candle helps me feel like I am outside in the forest where I find the most peace.
Advent technically starts on December 2. So take some time now to ask: how will you slow down and be present this Advent season? How will you stop and reflect?
Prayer: Lord, during this season of Advent, help me compose and quiet my soul to listen to you. Help me show others what it means to slow down in this season of busyness. Lord, you are worth it to take time to pause and reflect. Amen.
ABCRM Camping Intern