Click above to listen to my arrangement of the old hymn Be Still My Soul (1752 lyrics, 1899 music), from the album A Thousand Years as you read. If you enjoy, consider ordering the CD or MP3 Album, or Sheet Music (the song is also on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Pandora, and more).
How do you like to “be still” and reduce life’s noise?
If you are wanting more “peace and rest in a hurried world,” and all the “noise” in life has you overwhelmed, I want to let you in on a secret — you weren’t designed to be stressed.
I also felt more stressed until the idea of creating and listening to Scripture inspired piano was revealed to me. I didn’t know that practicing this regularly for fifteen years would lead to touching listeners around the world, and becoming an award-winning composer. I just had a desire to “be still” in my own life, and rise above the fog of noise and busyness.
Here are three ways to “be still,” which have increased my inspiration and productivity. One of these may stand out, or these three suggestions might give you a better idea to try for you.
1. Unplug. On our most recent family vacation, I did not take my computer. This became more invigorating each day. It helped me to live in the moment, and focus on creating memories together. I try to “unplug” from technology for part of each day. For example, I have been jogging without any earbuds or music in my ears. Listening to my foot steps, my breathing, the wind blowing, or a bird singing blocks out the noise. When I did finally get a smart phone (I waited until January 2012), in the settings I turned off “push notifications” for everything, including email. I figured I did not want technology to “push” me around. Instead, I would “pull” from it on my schedule. How do you unplug from the noise?
2. Do Something “Old Fashioned.” On that same recent vacation, we only took a deck of cards for entertainment. We played a few times and it was nice to talk to each other during the games. At home we sometimes play a board game instead of watching TV. I also enjoy cooking in the kitchen with my wife, or grilling dinner outside. When we do watch TV, we often enjoy “old fashioned” shows the most, such as The Muppets, Andy Griffith, I Love Lucy, or The Dick Van Dyke Show. If you’re married, try taking a walk with your spouse and holding hands. What are some “old fashioned” things you like to do?
3. Meditate on a Bible Verse. Consider writing down (or recording as a voice memo in your smart phone) a Psalm or verse that can encourage your faith and spiritual journey. For example, Psalm 46:10 reads, “He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’” This idea grew to a new level when John 1:14 inspired my first Scripture inspired piano melody — “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Meditating or memorizing verses like these helps me remember I wasn’t designed to be stressed.
What step can you take to “be still” and find refreshment for your soul?