By Chaplain (Capt.) Matthew Woodside
Special to GUIDON
When I was little, my mother would tell me to “be still and quit squirming around.” She used to ask me if I had “ants in my pants.”
I really had no idea what she meant, but her words came home to roost when I was blessed with my own two sons who also seemingly had “ants in their pants.”
I used to play a game with my youngest son. I would have him stand still in the center of the squared kitchen tiles as I gave him instructions. He tried his best, but he could not stand still even for the brief time I gave the instructions. As I calmly explained to him a simple request, he fought with every inch of his body to listen and remain fixed on what I was saying, but he could not.
Adults are not much different than children when it comes to being still. We scurry along in the rat race of life, trying to pack a week’s worth of tasks and chores into one day. Such attempts are accompanied by exhaustion and fatigue, which results in worry and anxiety.
A large part of my counseling is simply telling my clients to “slow down.” When we slow down, we think better. When we slow down, we can rightly evaluate our situations. When we slow down, we realize that not everything is urgent and that life is about prioritizing what needs to be done now and what can be done tomorrow or even the next day. Slowing down enables us to enjoy the moment and not miss the blessings along the way. When we hurry through life, it’s easy to be shortsighted and miss the forest for the proverbial trees.
Scripture affords a great reminder in Psalm 46:10: “Cease striving and know that I am God.” In this verse, God tells his people to be still and recognize who he is and who we are. He is God, the creator and sustainer of life. We are his creation, dependent on his care and protection.
We can’t speed up the days or add any hours to the week. But we can be still and know he is God. Maybe if we did this, we could get rid of those ants in our pants, and rest in the comfort and care of our Father.
(Editor’s note: Woodside is the chaplain of the 43rd Adjutant General Battalion.)