One pit I fall in regularly is judging. Jesus asked me not to. Wise people say the mind gets quiet when you aren’t constantly categorizing everything as right or wrong, good or bad or too soon to tell. But my mind isn’t quiet very often. In the middle of the madness of a busy day, I lose track of reality – the reality that God is big, I am small, but I matter because I am His. To do lists get loud. Phones ring. Texts buzz. I remember something I forgot to do yesterday and now it’s late. I get confused by everything coming at me and I start pointing at stuff. “Yes! That’s the right thing to work on now,” though I’m not really sure. I guess at what will be okay to leave for later. I guess at how important a lunch break is. Right, wrong, wrong, wrong, right. It’s frantic and it’s because I don’t know. I don’t know which end is up.
But we don’t have to get sucked into the crazy. That time I took an hour to pray, things got really quiet. I got to see what “being still” can do for us. Everything that had toppled down in the mayhem, Jesus set back up. God at the top, us under her wings. God in charge, us trusting. God ruling everything and judging everything, so we don’t have to.
Once we’re quiet we can ask, “What’s the next right thing?” and we’ll hear the whisper from our heart. I believe we can learn to maintain an inner quiet so we hear this through the shouting mayhem. I think that’s how Jesus followed His Father non-stop. Not asking Himself what He thought was right or wrong or good or bad. Not guessing. Because when we hear the quiet voice of the Spirit Jesus sent to live inside us, we don’t have to guess. We know.
P.S. One question has helped me when there are lots of demands on my time and attention and I’m struggling to navigate in a way that reflects my values. I ask, How do I want to feel? and while that sounds like a real woo-woo question to those of you who are strongly on the thinking side of life, it gives me clarity. I may answer, “I want to stop dreading that,” so I tackle the hard, yucky task. Or I may say, “I want to feel accomplished,” and pick three things I can check off in the time I have available. Or I may say, “I want to feel connected to my kids,” and I’ll sit down and read to them. What’s so helpful about this is it narrows my focus to the right now (rather than trying to predict how the rest of the day will go and the perfect order of tasks for efficiency’s sake, etc.) Things get too complicated when I try to tell the future, so I try to hear Jesus’ advice about today (or this hour) having enough trouble of its own. Just be here now, because that’s where the I Am is. 🙂