I work with children who are experiencing difficulty learning. Each has a story and a struggle. Some even have different learning struggles from day to day. Little combination locks, mysteries to unlock. Most struggle to stay focused, and like most children, they fight the wiggles. As I try to teach addition, chairs are moving, fingers are tapping, pencils are rolling, papers are sliding. To accommodate this need for movement, our occupational therapist gives some children a Wiggle Seat. Sounds fun, huh? If a child’s need for movement is met, the brain can focus on the math. Did you know that we all learn better through movement?  I know that is true, but when teaching eight challenging kids math, all the moving makes me just want to say, “be still!”

Like my students, whose focus drifts to a moving car seen through the window or a repetitive sound their pencil can make, I can be easily distracted too. The last few weeks have been crazy hectic with a new schedule of working and preparing for a big test. I still have six children who need me at home and a husband I love to be with, but I’m also working. I have not been able to stop moving for very long. 

On Sunday morning, I stole a few moments in a comfy chair by a window, coffee mug in hand, and I heard it. His voice. The quiet, gentle voice of the Holy Spirit. “Be still.” It was a sweet invitation, not an angry command. There was no manipulation or sarcasm. He didn’t say, “Wow. I thought you loved me. I thought you were a Christian. When’s the last time you opened your Bible? Remember what I did for you? Can’t you even take time to pray to me?” 

If you ever hear that voice, it’s not Christ. It’s our enemy trying to shame us.

I heard grace and love in the voice of Jesus. That kindness stirred an ache in me, a longing to worship, to pray, to be in his presence and enjoy his peace. Yes, I had allowed the busyness of life to distract me from the One who makes sense of it all, but as I sat watching the sun rise behind the trees, I was reminded that he had been there faithfully for me. Each day that I rushed out the door, teacher bag in hand, lesson plans flying and every night as I googled, pinned, and studied, he was there.

I missed out on him in the midst of my scrambling to make life happen. I can’t really tell you why  I do that, how I get so distracted. After all, there are reminders of him all around me. He is the one holding me together, holding this spinning planet in place. Blessing upon blessing fill my life, yet there are times that the blessings, the tasks, the people, the things of this world wrap me up tight.  You understand, don’t you? 

God’s sweet voice reminded me this weekend of  his presence, his faithfulness, his love for me. A gift to enjoy each day, a strength to draw from, a hope to hang on to, and a peace to rest in. When he asked me to be still, he was not condemning me, but saying, “I miss you.” He was also reminding me how tired and frustrated I become without him. Doing life on my own never turns out well. 

As I plan lessons for those struggling students, he can offer wisdom. When I am dealing with my crazy teenagers at home, he can be my peace. When I am dog tired and wondering why I’m doing any of this anyway, he wants to be my rest. As I walk the halls of my school, his Spirit can impress upon me to pray for a fellow teacher who is hurting. 

I can’t stop living life, and that is not what Jesus is asking. He has called me to parent, to teach, and to serve. The toilet has to be cleaned. Dinner is necessary. Walking into class with no lesson plans is asking for trouble. When he says, “be still” he is asking me to quiet my spirit and to join with him in what I’m doing. When he is the reason behind my work, and the energy that moves through me, when his love speaks through me as I go, then I know I’m not distracted from him. 

Yes, there are those times to be absolutely alone with him. Worship. Pour your heart out to him, intercede for the hurting and helpless. Seek his will, and listen for his answers. Most of our walk with him, however,is exactly that. It’s walking, living, speaking, serving with him. I’m learning to do that, to live and to move in communion with him. Tandem. Good word. Tandem. Kinda reminds me of the old word, “yoke.” We don’t use that word often because most of us are not farmers, hooking up our oxen every day. Jesus used that word to describe living life with him, connected, like two oxen working together. 

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30

I think a modern day version would be skydiving tandem with Jesus. We don’t know how to do it. We’re scared. It’s overwhelming. He is inviting us to jump tandem. 

Okay girls. Let’s live today tandem with Christ. We don’t have to find a quiet closet to connect with him. All of life can be lived in tandem. Let’s do it.