By Karen Hice Guzmán

Five Minutes of Peace: Birds of the Air

The staff at The Well is committing to find “five minutes of peace” daily in Advent. (Join us! Find the details here.) For the next few weeks, we’re sharing reflections on our own experiences of this practice. We hope that hearing what this is like encourages you during your own Advent and gives you a peek behind the curtain at the people who make Women in the Academy and Professions happen.

I’ve never done “solitude and silence” very well. I’d much rather be in a noisy coffee shop doing work — (like writing this) — or hanging out with a big group of friends. I am, after all, an extrovert, so lots of people and lots of activity energizes me. Being by myself? It’s draining and depresses me, actually. And even when I am alone and in a relatively quiet place, my mind is racing.

But ... I have been thinking about these verses out of Matthew 6 lately:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?"

For me, “Five Minutes of Peace” is an invitation out of busy and frenzy and worry, which I am easily prone to and which the impeding season easily brings. There is so much going on — which I love — but so much that tempts me to put my mind, my energy, and my values in places that are not, in the end, life-giving and which ultimately draw me away from the real celebration of Christmas.

So this year during Advent, for five minutes each day I am going to look at the birds and, Lord willing, stem the tide of anxiety that knocks at my door and enjoy the shalom of Emmanuel (God with us). What will you do with your five minutes?

About the Author

Karen is the National Director of InterVarsity's Women in the Academy and Professions, and lives in Marietta, Georgia, with her husband and three boys. Except for some years taken off to raise her sons, she has spent her adult life in and around InterVarsity — originally as a student and campus staff member in Michigan and currently in Atlanta. An entrepreneur at heart, she and some student leaders started the grad fellowship at Michigan State and the MBA fellowship at Georgia Tech. She loves to use her gifts of hospitality and teaching to create a welcoming place for people to connect with God and with each other. Although she rarely has time for it, you can find Karen at her sewing machine when ministry progress gets hard to measure and she needs to see tangible results from her efforts. She loves dark chocolate, good coffee, and British television.

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