Psalm 46:10-- "Be still, and know that I am God."
How hard is it sometimes to just be still? Think about that. Even when we have down time at our disposal, how often are we actually still? How often do we turn off all the "noise" in our lives and just quiet ourselves before God?
I am so bad at this. Now that summer's here, I have a lot of free time, and yet I find myself so quickly filling it with things that don't matter... Etsy shopping, watching endless hours of Everybody Loves Raymond... you get the picture. But at the end of the day, do these things really matter? Sure, they're fun, and sure, they're great in managed quantities, but what effect do they have on our ability to be still?
Maybe you're the opposite. Maybe you have two kids under five and life is so fast-paced right now that you're lucky if you even have time to bathe, let alone get some peaceful, quiet time.
We live in a hyper-paced world. And I, for one, feel like I always have to keep up with it. I want to see the Dancing with the Stars finale when it first comes on (which, by the way, how disappointing was that finale?!), I want all the aqua-colored trends I've seen on Pinterest, and I like reading books by my favorite authors right when they come out. Information comes so quickly in our digital age that sometimes keeping up is just plain exhausting.
But today I want to challenge our idea of what it really means to be still.
When I think of "being still" before God, I think of a very pious person, bowing before God on a glorious morning filled with newly-lit sunlight and the splendor of fresh flowers on a hillside. This does not happen for me, at least not usually, because I'm completely not a morning person, and every day I end up feeling guilty for sleeping a few more minutes (sometimes many more minutes-ha!) than I'd planned.
But what if we've got it all wrong? What if "being still" means something else entirely?
Today I took my dog Maddie to the vet because she's been really stiff for months now, and she's only three. She had to be sedated so they could take some x-rays--not really a big deal--but I hate the idea of leaving her at the vet for the day, and I always get nervous when she has to be sedated. Not to mention, I hate seeing her loopy like that and knew she'd be really sore afterwards. So last night, I am laying in my bed, begging God for every little detail I can think of. The sedative (which at that point I thought was going to be full-blown anesthesia), any germs she might come into contact with, the other dogs around, wisdom for the vet, that nothing would go wrong, that she wouldn't get scared or sick from the medicine. You name it, and I probably imagined it and prayed for it. You may be thinking, "all this for a dog?" but to me she's so much more than a dog.
But somewhere along my long list of items, God stopped me and said, "Be still."
He does this often with me. You'd think I would've learned the lesson by now. Somewhere in my mind, when confronted with a challenging situation, I feel like I can pray my way out of it by thinking of every possible scenario and praying against that. Don't get me wrong--I believe praying in specific terms is very important. But whenever we feel a compulsion to imagine the worst case scenario and then beg God not to let those scary things happen, we have a problem. We are taking things into our own hands and asking God to stamp his power on our plans.
And so last night I stepped out in faith. I stopped listing all the possibilities, and in brokenness just said to God, "Please take care of her."And the thing is, that's what He wants. He doesn't need me to handle it for Him, and when I pray in fear He doesn't think to Himself, "I hadn't thought of that! Thanks for pointing it out." He. Is. God.
There is peace in surrender. I think this concept goes hand-in-hand with the verses that say to "pray continually" as well as the verses that exhort us to think about those things that are "true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy" (Philippians 4:8). It is one thing to have legitimate fear that we give to God. It is another thing to take that fear and hold on.
So this brings me to a question. What if being still doesn't always mean bowing by your bedside on a quiet morning. Sure, it can happen there. But what if being still is more a matter of the heart, of surrender? What would it look like if, instead of trying to fix everything we bring to God, we simply bring these things to Him with broken hearts and said, "I need You, God. I need You so badly, right now." What if we trusted Him by surrendering our hearts and continually lived in the peace that comes from being in His hand?
I wanted to share this video with you because I love this song. The Fray isn't a Christian band, per say, but I don't think you can escape the spiritual tenor of these lyrics. I hope it ministers to you today and encourages your heart, in all its wanderings and all its worries, to simply be still.