I’m not a person who likes to rush, but you wouldn’t know it by the way I’m leading my life today. I’m currently in a season of life that has me running from one meeting, one workout, one social commitment to the next, with barely a moment to breathe in between. When I step back and take a critical look at it, this sort of existence feels … suffocating.
Church is one of the places I’ve been running to and from. To be honest, the past few times I’ve been in worship, I’ve had trouble paying attention to God’s word, the prayers, the hymns, the sermon. Church is usually the place where I find inspiration and comfort, but I can’t seem to quiet my mind and focus. The closest I’ve felt to God, as of late, was not in church. It was on my yoga mat last Wednesday night.
Sheets of rain beat against the dark windows of the candlelit studio as I flowed through the familiar motions of sun salutation B. Surrounded by a sea of yogis, I began to zero in on the rise and fall of my breath and the movement of my limbs. The fog of thoughts crowding my mind cleared.
Outside the storm thundered, and in that moment, dwelling on God’s awesome creation, I felt tremendously grateful to be safe and warm indoors. I felt deeply thankful for God’s gift of movement and the ways it brings me calm. Reminded of my need for protection, my own humanity, I felt humbled.
In the storm, God was calling: “Be still and know that I am God!” (Psalm 46:10)
The rain, the thunder, the movement, the warmth were a striking reminder of my identity as a child of God. And inside, I felt still.
In his “Confessions,” St. Augustine writes that our hearts are restless until they rest in God. It’s easy to get caught up in self-centered living: hustling from one moment to the next, never stopping, never slowing on a restless quest to prepare, produce, protect. That’s what I was doing.
What I love about yoga is that it forces me to slow down and be present in the moment. I desperately crave that same sense of calm that comes when I silence my frenetic thoughts.
Now I’m working on creating space for stillness in my everyday living. I’m working on quieting my inner critic and cultivating gratitude for each day. Whatever storms are raging around and inside of me, I can find rest in the knowledge that my heart belongs to God.