Active or reflective? – Look, See, Pray

Life is (too) busy for most of us. We are always moving, working, travelling – and we are tired and stressed.


These two men were crossing the river estuary in Salcombe.  The outboard motor chugged along, and the river surface was broken by the movement and bow wave. They were disturbing the peace by being busy: they disturbed the seagulls and were unpopular with the watchers.

For a complete contrast, look at this view of two boats quietly at their mooring.


You can make out more of the boats: and because the water was undisturbed, there is a detailed and attractive reflection. White paint and dark blue water make a tranquil scene and invite attention. The second photo is, to my eyes, peaceful.

Simple thought: are we making enough of opportunities to be still and reflective? I am challenged daily to make space, to be less of a disturbance and more focused.

Modern life is too often about being busy, puttering along going somewhere- anywhere? – just so our progress through life appears to be actually moving enough to be noticed. We justify ourselves and identify ourselves by what we are doing.

There is a long-established Christian practice of silence and stillness. It fell into disfavour when the industrial revolution dominated our time- and when the modern curse of measuring everything against “targets” and “efficiency goals” made time to reflect a luxury society thought we couldn’t afford.

Funnily, though, I have discovered that most of the people I admire and respect deeply are those who have a “quiet heart” and the integrity of a creatively balanced life. It is not their activity that inspires me so much as the depth of character and spirituality. When I look at them, they reflect something of God and are therefore so much more attractive and even more worthy of respect.

“Busy” lives may be a convenient way of avoiding the discomfort of quietness and deep thought. If we “stop” thrashing around for a bit, what would our lives reflect? What would they see in us if we were actually still enough to let the ripples fade?

1 Peter 3:3-4 (NLT)   Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewellery, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.






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