Stillness and Smiles

Each year in November, Jason's parents (who are photographers) gather the immediate family together for a group photo to be placed on the year's Christmas card.  By immediate family, I mean Ed and Tina (my in-laws), Brad (Jason's brother), Pearl (their dog), Jason and I, and both are dogs, Tippy and Mitch.  The entire ordeal is comical and frustrating all at the same time.  It is nearly an impossible feat to get all five people and three dogs looking at the camera at the same time, and getting everyone to smile is like trying to cut an oak tree down with a butter knife.

This year, because the weather has been so pleasant and the foliage so divine, it was decided we should do pictures outside.  From the moment I heard the plan, I knew we were in for a LONG day.  For my dogs, outside time means hiking, especially since we went to a state park for the pictures.  We went for a car ride and attached leashes.  In the minds of my furry children, they were going hiking, and they were excited about it.  The last thing they wanted to do was to sit still for the camera. . . especially Mitch (aka the Energizer Bunny).

It took every bit of effort and patience I possessed to get that dog to be still long enough to take a picture.  He ran, hopped, flopped, jumped.  He wanted to lay on his back and get his belly rubbed.  He wanted to face his mommy and daddy instead of the camera.  He was confused and agitated.  He didn't want to be still; he wanted to hike!  He wanted to commence with his plans for the day, and those plans did not involve staring into a funny-looking black box and being blinded by its bright flash.

Oh, how much I understand what Mitch was feeling, for like him, I do not like to be still.  I don't like for someone or something to waylay my plans.  I don't appreciate feeling confused and agitated when things are not going as I had foreseen.  My natural tendency, just like Mitch, is to try to go about my plans anyway.  I'll run, hop, flop and jump, struggling to have my own way, heedless to the Master's  pleas to be still. 

In my eagerness to do what I want to do, I forget that God has brought me to this place for a reason.  We took the dogs to the park so that we could capture their likeness in a picture we could share with others.  God has brought me to this place for the same reason, only He doesn't want to capture my likeness, but His own likeness within me.  He wants to instill that likeness within me so that I can share it with others.  But for that to be done, sometimes I just have to be still.  Even when I don't understand.  Even when I'm frustrated.  Even when I think I know a better way.

You see, what Mitch didn't know was that I had stowed the backpack in the back of the truck early the morning of pictures.  Jason and I had every intention of taking the dogs for a hike once the photo session was done.  The reward had been planned and was only a moment away.  How much sooner could we have begun the hike had Mitch been more cooperative in the first place?  How much sooner could he have gained his reward?  How much sooner can I gain mine if I'll only learn to be still?

Lord, I ask You today to show me Your will,
But above all else, please help me to be still.