It’s not quite a global epidemic, but it’s certainly an addiction for many. For over-scheduling our lives begins at an early age indeed, from playdates to sports teams to extra-curricular programs to weekend social engagements. And when we become adults, tethered by our phones and email to a demanding 24-hour a day society, it only gets worse. It’s so bad, in fact, that we’ve even invented toys now whose sole purpose is to fidget for us, and nonsensically enough we advertise them as “anti-anxiety” spinners.
All of which is why the current halt to most forms of social interaction came as a full stop indeed, almost like throwing a car into reverse while going 65 miles per hour. Centuries ago, however, the psalmist told us to “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46.10) And the Hebrew word in that verse comes from a root verb meaning among other things to “relax and sink down.” In Judges 9.19, for instance, it refers to a day “drawing to a close.” In Isaiah 5.27, we read of dry grass “collapsing” into a flame. And in Nehemiah 6.9, the same verb is used to speak of hands “getting too weak” for the work and dropping to our sides.
Or in other words, to be still is to “cease and desist” from whatever we’ve been hammering at, worrying about, or yes, fidgeting over, and instead simply to sink into a state of sweet surrender. All so that we may remember just exactly who God is. Eugene Peterson’s winsome paraphrase, The Message, renders this verse in fact by saying, “Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything.”
And perhaps in this season of social distancing and self-quarantines, that might be a good idea for each of us as well. For rather than lament the enforced slow-down in our lives, could it be that this season can become a gift from God to enable us to rediscover the One who really matters? For when you throw away your appointment book, all of sudden you may just have more time for the Lord who made us and who from the moment of our birth has dearly wanted to be a part of our lives.
Take this time to renew your relationship with the Lord, thus. For when we are ready–or forced–to stop fidgeting and be still, we may be amazed at what the days can bring.