By Ruth DuCharme
Last Friday night, Cass, Caitlyn, Chase, and I attended the Georgia National Fair in Perry. It was a treat to have the four of us together for a family outing. It is rare that a busy college and high school student can find time to spend with their mom and dad at the fair on a Friday night. We enjoyed our evening taking in the sights, sounds, and food of the fair. Most of our time was spent looking and observing. We looked at the art displays, watched as people rode the mechanical bull, and enjoyed the sight of the miniature donkeys.
Caitlyn and Chase weren't really into the rides this year, but I decided that we needed to pump up the excitement level of our evening. I suggested that we all ride the Ferris wheel together. Now my two children will ride any mind-bending, stomach-churning roller coaster that has ever been invented, so a Ferris wheel ride should be no challenge to them. We loaded the car and made it to the very top only to stop. I saw a bit of fear in Caitlyn's eyes as she snuggled a bit closer to her dad. The longer we were at the top, the more her anxiety increased. Once we began to move again, she seemed to relax and enjoy the ride a bit more. There was something about being still on the top of that giant wheel that made her uneasy and unable to enjoy the view.
Caitlyn's experience reminded me of how we sometimes live our lives. We go through life at a furious pace. We are thrilled at keeping things at a hectic speed. Challenges thrill us. Adventures call us. We experience the ups and downs and twists and turns without flinching. It is only when we find ourselves forced to be still or stuck on the top of a situation that is out of our control that we begin to panic. We can handle the hectic pace, but sometimes we can't handle the stillness.
We often avoid stillness. We avoid having to sit and think about who we are and where we are going. Busyness is a great distraction that keeps us from looking within. Hectic schedules keep us from worship. Thrills and adventures keep us from sitting and enjoying the view. If we are honest with ourselves, we really need both thrills and stillness in our lives. We need challenges to help us grow, and we need stillness to help us reflect and listen to God.
God is calling us to enjoy life to its fullest - to jump on a thrill ride or two. But God also calls us to the Ferris wheels and the merry-go-rounds of life. God wants us to sit still, to listen, and to soak in the view. What do you need in your life? Do you need the thrill of stepping beyond your fears and offering yourself in service to God? Do you need to slow down from your hectic pace and find a place to offer yourself in worship of God? God is calling you...are you being still enough to listen?