There was this pond I went to as a kid that could’ve been the poster-pond for stagnation. Half of it was covered in slime. The water just sat there incubating bacteria and parasites and whatever other bad things grow in and thrive in stagnation (mean ducks that chase high school girls – those types of things).
Earlier I was talking with a friend about simplicity. Dreaming. Living off the grid. Growing our own food and making our own clothes. Stagnation. (All the normal things restless people talk about.) She told me one of her deepest fears is stagnation. I get it! Completely.
- the state of not flowing or moving
- lack of activity, growth or development
If you don’t know me, I’m the toddler (stuck in a 20-something lady’s body) who says she is bored every three minutes while being surrounded by siblings, toys, the television, bicycles, roller blades, friends, her hamster, trampoline, books and covered in paint from her last great idea that was 93% finished before she started looking for more projects to satisfy her restlessness.
My husband, in the sweetest Kyle-manner, reminds me of my restless spirit at least 6 times a week. I agree with him. I am afraid of stagnation, but I am learning that the outcomes of stagnation and the outcomes of stillness are immensely different.
Stagnation is the state of not flowing or moving…so you can think of that as stillness, right? But even though you are still…there can be activity, growth or development that takes place. Often times, it’s even necessary to have stillness in order to grow. And even more importantly…Jesus tells us to be still (and I went on and on about the beauty of this stillness in Sit Down! Shut Up! and To Give Rest – Obviously this is a theme God is trying to drive into my life)!
Today, my husband sent me this text…
“I think your heart desires something along the lines of this: ‘I wanna live in Bangladesh, surrounded by thousands of people, wash my clothes in a river, and eat crazy food.’ My heart is more along the lines of: “I wanna live in a cabin in the mountains of Wyoming, at least 20 minutes from the nearest human being, where the silence is almost overwhelming.”
One of these, from the surface, appears to be more still, right? The cabin in the mountains, the overwhelming silence. Despite Kyle’s calm, easy-going (handsome) manner, the guy is the furthest thing from stagnant. There’s always inner growth, development, thinking, questioning. I recognize the beauty of stillness and desire it, but I’m so far off from embracing it. I thinks ponds or rivers or lakes or whatever body of water it is has to have a huge rushing waterfall pouring into it constantly to keep it from turning stagnant, but in reality…a trickling creek is all it takes.