“Before you assume, learn. Before you judge, understand. Before you hurt, feel. Before you say, think.” – Unknown
Life is full of surprises. There are so many distracting, unplanned events occurring daily across the globe, let alone in our personal lives. Sometimes it’s hard to know who to listen to or what direction to go. The noise is often overwhelming, uncontrolled and relentless.
The many circumstances in my life (and more often than not, the tragic ones) have taught me some great lessons. One lesson in specific is how to be still during even the most daunting events. Without this ability I would have certainly lost it on more than a few occasions.
Nowadays one would have to live in a cave (without available WiFi) to be sheltered from a continuous media stream of bad reports, tragedy and potential life changing circumstances, and so since living in a cave probably is not the most effective way to raise a family, have productive relationships or earn a living, how does one maintain tranquility and stability in such a volatile world filled with information that instills fear, anxiousness and hopelessness?
Even for those of us that walk by faith and believe in someone/something greater than us, the issue can still be troubling, cause us to fret and live with uneasiness. You know, those days when you are preoccupied with circumstances more than you are focused on what is front of you, or when your sleep becomes restless because your mind is filled with all of the “what if this happens” scenarios? Have you been there? I certainly have.
Well being there is one thing, but staying there is something entirely different. These days we must choose to live in a different way. A way that perhaps challenges your status quo, threatens your television time and maybe even parts of your social life.
It has been said that if you want to keep something from a black man, put it in a book, because we do not make time to read. We are caught up with self-indulgence, which usually looks like being fancy, being more concerned with what we have and how we look, versus who we are or who we are becoming. Of course this is true for anyone, but you understand my point hopefully.
I choose to look inward and force myself to be still by tuning out outside forces and noise. It is imperative for my state of mind to remain at peace and to be at my best more often than not. Simply wishing it will happen does not work. It must be deliberate and purposeful, therefore requires a scheduled time that I give to myself. I call this going inward.
It is a time when I close off to the entire world and pray, stay quiet, reflect, think and most importantly, listen. Listening is a skill that seems to be the most challenging, yet when we choose to commit to it will be also be the one time where we are able to learn more, and respond more effectively with enriching words of wisdom.
Nothing can substitute the inward life and in these unpredictable times it is imperative that we spend time with ourselves, our God and hear what we must hear, so we can know what we must know and remain calm during the storms of life. There is no question that we live in unprecedented times and our state of mind must remain intact and on point.
So today I encourage you to examine your life and how you are spending your time. Turn down the outside noise and go inward. Make a date with yourself and practice being still and listen. You will be amazed how much you will hear and learn.