Saturday. He leaves for his man breakfast, and a solitude of stillness settles here.

Treasures these are, such Saturday morns, and I stretch them long as they will reach, through coffee steam clouds casting filmy shadows over pages of print or blank whiteness. The morning bird sings today’s brief song selection outside the window, then fades off, and I am left with gentle thoughts and deep.


But today the coming week keeps calling, like rude salesman, competing with the now of silence, reminding me this very room in which I wish to sit all wistful must be partially dismembered and fully rearranged, brief (three-day) home for two adults, one little child.

And beyond it wait the other rooms, one the kitchen, wanting mixing and preparing done ahead, preventing robbery of family time so rare.

Do still, or do busy?

Or, do both? Brother Lawrence could: stilled himself in a sort of solitude with God even while busied in the kitchen, pelted with calls for this and that from multiple mouths around him. Tersteegan could, even amid the crowds jostling in streets or jamming through his doors.

I’m no good at this. But is it about me? Isn’t my Lord, God, and Helper the One who stills the churning waves, who speaks peace among the milling multitudes?

Can I not, by His own power, do one and then the other? Still, then move—one small steady silent movement toward some meager task’s completion?  And always, when the agitation starts to rise inside the head and chest, and arms and neck tense up, can I not slow and stop and still, be each stilling but five minute byte? And then, eventually, may I not do both at once, still within, employed without?

Times like this I am most tempted to assess a day a wasted twenty-four if I’ve not checked off items on a list: accomplished, check, accomplished, check. But I remember Tozer telling how the godly men of old called wasted any day that hadn’t held some time of stilling alone with Him.

I have the alone this morning. The stilling comes from making practice of it and looking to its Author.

Stilling in gentle doing.

Doing gently stilled.


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17 thoughts on “Still, or Busy?

  1. oh you’ve said it all … to be still, to know He is God, to rest quietly … even ‘when all around my soul gives way’ …


  2. Truth. Add to it the idea of being filled with the Spirit rather than filled with anxiety, fear or wrath. Filled with His power. Power to be still in the midst.

  3. Beautiful, Sylvie. And please know that I was just stilled when reading your silently, silvered prose. We certainly need solitude and silence to foster stillness. But the real achievement (if I even want to use that action-orienting word) is to be still in the midst of activity….to be still way down deep in the center, where God resides. Thank you for sharing.

  4. I read this while I am deciding what to do about my stillness. I can keep it or reframe it as I
    go get my 6 and 3 year old grandsons for 4 hours before I go to work in the afternoon tomorrow. Being still in the midst of busyness. What a concept and, oh so, convicting, Sylvia!

  5. Oh and I had meant to tell you: I love your silvery photo. Did you take it?

  6. Reply to all you dear women:
    Know this, I do. Live it out, I don’t do naturally. It’s so easy to talk about and intend — but also to get distracted and drift. So I stumble along, trying repeatedly to correct my course, by calling on His enablement, setting up constant reminders, trying to keep aware of tension or inner distraction beginning, and (when I detect it) making myself stop to still with Him instead of pushing on. (Here’s where I still tend most to fail.)
    Someday maybe this will flow spontaneously constant, but for now, intentional effort needed — and much of His grace! So very true what you “added in,” Laurie, actually the main ingredient! It’s only by His power, being filled with His Spirit instead of all those other things that can own and drive us!

  7. Yes, Lynn, I did take the photo. What makes it look silvery is heavy morning frost!

  8. Dawn, I can’t help wondering how much inner “stillness” you managed to get in those four hours with two boys, 6 and 3, and then in the rushing off to work. All things are possible with God, but methinks that may have been a real challenge! Hope you enjoyed any chaos anyhow! 😉

  9. Yes, Michelle-Lyn, I love how Brother Lawrence was able to live worship in the kitchen like that, great example to look to.

  10. Quite a challenge, Linda, “when all around my soul gives way,” but sometimes that’s when we best realize our need for stilling our own efforts and looking to Him, isn’t it? So glad you stopped by to visit and comment.

  11. Pam,
    Wanna know a secret? The pen in the header photo isn’t really silver. Nor is there much silver in Sylvr — lots more refining still needed, I’m afraid (sigh), but He keeps working on it…

  12. You are an amazing photographer. I keep coming back to this photo and feel its peace. It should be mounted on a wall and its serenity, maintained in the heart.

  13. Hi again Lynn,
    I’m so glad the photo blesses you this way. I just kind of grabbed it to have something a little appropriate to illustrate the story. But you’re motivating me to use it for my desk top. Those soft early morning shadows stretching out like that are calming!

    And thanks for kind encouragement. I have so much to learn, am thinking about ordering a course on taking great shots. So far my “secret method” is to take tons of shots, then sort through the mess after I get them in my computer, and maybe happen to have a good one. Then I might touch it up a bit if needed.

    A blessed Thanksgiving to you!

  14. The stillness – so important! Thank you for reminding me just how much of a priority this should be for me. I really needed it this week.

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