• Guest Contributor

Be Still

My mind is a swirl today—grief and sorrow, gratitude, worry, uncertainty.  I am not normally prone to anxiety, but the combination of too much on my mind gets to me.  There so much threat in the world as well as so much that provokes gratitude. Even so, the “what ifs” sometimes take over my head and heart in this very complex moment of time, leading to being anxious, fearful, and afraid.  


While our anxiety is very understandable these days, surely normal under the circumstances, I am searching for an antidote, buffer, some ways to still my mind from flying towards the future, a way to calm the swirl.  So today, I am trying to be here now.  All we have is today. Tomorrow doesn’t yet exist. The task is to train our minds and hearts to be in one place at a time.  


I meditate on Psalm 46.  

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change 

….

The Lord of hosts Is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.

….

Be still and know that I am God. 


Being still is hard.  Harder right now, when being physically and mentally still allows me to hear my own worries.  But I take those thoughts and gently move them to the side in my head and heart. I ask God to be with me, to focus my heart in this one moment, with God.  I breathe, in and out, in and out, focusing on my breath. This is where I am. There is no other moment.  


I am still.  I am with God.  I am still. God is with me.  Breathe in and out, in and out.  God is my refuge. God is my strength.  I will not be afraid. I will be where I am.  Try these phrase as you breathe slowly.


Today is still a gift.  We need not reach out to the future to find troubles.  We only need to be aware of what is right this moment, even if it’s not perfect, not what we wanted, not happy.  This is life right now. This is who we are, what we have.


Mindfulness practices like meditation help us be here now.  Prayer helps us. Reading scripture and poetry keeps us in the moment.  Physical exercise does too.  


We have no other moment than this. Nothing is gained by imagining tomorrow, or putting ourselves there.  Today is. We are.


Be still and know that I am God.


Be still and know.


Be still.  


Let it be.



Jan Fuller has been the University Chaplain at Elon since 2011.  She is an Episcopal priest and deeply invested in helping students to find their own spiritual paths while interacting with others in differing paths with appreciation and respect. Raised in Beirut Lebanon for the first half of her life, Jan is the daughter of Southern Baptist missionaries to the Arab peoples of the Middle East. Jan’s education includes a Doctor of Ministry from Wesley Theological Seminary, a Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School, and a B.A. in English and French from Hollins University. Jan describes herself as a “war-zone survivor,” who retains a sense of humor and love of gentleness.  She loves Arab art and food, and all kinds of music. She intends to find the gift in every day and to live her life as a way of giving thanks.

Contact: jfuller3@elon.edu

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