One of the great challenges of our day is that hardly any of us are very good at stilling ourselves before the Lord. The good news is that we can all learn to do so.
There is, however, an additional problem that might surface as we learn to be still. As we behold God’s goodness, experience measures of healing in our souls, and get in touch with our true selves, we have the potential to get stuck.
Sometimes, we can so enjoy our time with the Lord that we become passive in our faith.
When we learn to receive, rather than strive, we might (unintentionally) forget the value of purposefully pursuing the Lord, and the importance of obeying His direction.
No one means to become too passive or disobedient, but it can happen if we over-prize our experience of Him, rather than our growing relationship with Him.
Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God.”
The verse goes on to say, “I wil be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
As we still ourselves, we connect with the God of glory – the God who is revealing Himself throughout His creation.
Our relationship with God is broader than our quiet encounters with His presence; it involves joining Him in His global activity.
Jesus said He could only do what He saw His Father doing (John 5:19). He did not strive His way through life.
Yet, He also said, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work.” (John 4:34) Jesus spent time with His Father in times of solitude and stillness. He was also spiritually nourished through His obedient activity.
We must learn to be still with the Lord and be active in accord with His will.
We must “breath in” through stillness and silence and “breath out” through obedience and proclamation.
We must receive rest for our souls in solitude and exercise our spirits in compliance with His will and activity in the world.
We must meaningfully connect with the unseen King and express His Kingdom (intents) in tangible ways.
Are you growingly in and consistently practicing a rhythm of stillness and obedience?
Are you stopping activity frequently enough to make room to “be” with God?
Are you intentionally conforming your life to His will?
A healthy God-glorifying life is nourished through both dimensions.
Toward which discipline is God calling your attention today?
What if you find that you can’t get still …
Don’t give up; learn to get still!
Everyone has difficulty stilling their minds sometimes and some people have difficulty nearly all of the
time. If you have a running mind or a fidgety body, please don’t give up on your pursuit of
stillness. Stillness is an important way to encounter the Lord.
The revelation of God – His splendor, His power, His omniscience – is experienced and most deeply received in stillness. Such revelation can settle and heal our souls. When we behold the Lord in stillness, we no longer are compelled to strive, or try to control our environments.
Here are a few simple ideas and practices that you may find helpful when you can’t get still:
1. Close your eyes – allow yourself to detach from your surroundings.
2. Take a few slow, gentle, deep breaths – become aware of how it feels and sounds. Acknowledge that God’s breath is in you. Breath and Spirit are the same word in Greek and Hebrew – acknowledge the presence of the Spirit of God in your relaxing breaths.
3. Consider a simple story or visual passage in Scripture and allow your imagination to help you enter the story/setting. Observe and experience what see, hear, smell and feel. Allow your soul to rest in the setting.
4. Choose a few words of a prayer, a name of God or a simple biblical phrase – slowly repeat it/them as you slow yourself down, inviting and allowing the presence of God to settle within and around you.
5. If you enjoy music, consider playing some simple instrumental pieces. You are not seeking inspiration
or energy in this exercise, but rest and stillness.
6. If you continue to have trouble calming, consider a gentle walk. This is not a power walk/run – unless you have a need to get the pent-up energy out). Allow yourself to “be” as you walk. Don’t rush, meander. Don’t worry, instead wonder at simple things that draw your attention as you walk. When you are able, come back to a short time of stillness. Thank God for the release and for sharing His presence with you in stillness.
7. If your mind if full of anxiety or worry, making it difficult to be still, you may want to take time to express your thoughts to God. You can write them or state them; don’t try to solve them at this time. If it takes a while to express them, that is fine – don’t rush. When you have expressed what you need to express, employ some of the practices mentioned above – so you can simply behold God.
Don’t give up. Learning to be still with God is a worthy life-long pursuit. Over time, it will be used of God to heal and nourish your soul. Your faith will increase, and you will learn to hear and discern the voice of the Lord more clearly. “Holy Spirit, help us to be still and know the triune God.”
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