Posted by: karanoel | June 19, 2011

Oh, to be still

Be still and know that I am God.  Psalm 46:10 

When my boss and I called in for our organization’s corporate prayer time on Friday, we didn’t hear the usual passage of scripture, followed by praise reports and prayer with our small group. Instead, we were read a brief quote on the importance of learning to be quiet and listen to God (or something of that sort; truth be told, I wasn’t altogether listening). We were then told to spend the next 25 minutes in silence. Just as I was thinking I could easily do that while working, Jesse’s voice came from the speaker saying, “Do not go back to work.” “Find a quiet place and listen.” Oh, okay. I get it.

It took me and my boss great restraint to keep from discussing this assignment before actually doing it, holding our lips together really tight like fidgety kindergarteners trying to be good. But we managed and I happily set out to my favorite walking path. Gorgeous day. Birds singing. Peaceful, as always. This assignment was right up my alley, and no doubt one I would ace. But, as it turns out, I suck at being quiet.

I finally got my mouth to stop, mostly. But my mind wouldn’t quit. It was like one of those awful mechanical dogs that bark incessantly when you walk by a toy store. I’d turn off one thought, only to find ten more noisy things yapping at me and demanding my attention. I persisted in the exercise and even extended the walk a bit to give a chance for better mastery, but still ended up back at work feeling quiet on the outside and noisy on the inside.

But as the day wore on, I noticed that my body was more relaxed. And my mind seemed calmer. The things I was sure I had to figure out before getting quiet lost their urgency and fell off my horizon. When I got in my car at the end of the day, I found a stillness I had forgotten existed. There was no desire to save the universe through my mental analyses, distract myself with music or sermons, or even pray with words like I’m used to. I just was. And God was. And we were. It was divine.

It is interesting to me how opposite this is of my life in general. Busy. Noisy. Distracted. Controlled. I don’t mean it to be that way. I’m mostly trying to make the most of what God has given me and what he has put in my heart to do, but things keep getting out of balance and I know it. When I follow the maze back to the start, I always find the same thing: Self-importance. Maybe you’d call it pride.

Instead of letting God figure something out and tell me what to do, I butt in and want to help him figure it out like some obnoxious micromanager. Instead of asking God which people (and when) he wants me to be available for, I want to help everyone all the time and sometimes think – with ridiculous self-righteousness – that they won’t be okay without me. As if I’m the savior of myself or my son or my friends. Getting quiet on Friday reminded me that He alone saves. He alone has the answers. He alone is wise.

He won’t give me more than I can accomplish. Not only that, but he won’t give me more than I can accomplish in perfect peace. As it says in Isaiah, “This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength.” If I trust God more than I trust myself, I will lay down my thoughts, my agenda, and the ways I seek to affirm myself. I will take the time to hear what is on his heart and what is important to him. I will be refreshed and gain perspective. I will indeed be still and know that he is God.

Cease striving and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10 NASB

Let go [of your concerns]! Then you will know that I am God. Psalm 46:10 Amp

Be at peace in the knowledge that I am God. Psalm 46:10 BBE

Barnes’ Notes on the Bible

Be still – The word used here means properly to cast down; to let fall; to let hang down; then, to be relaxed, slackened, especially the hands: It is also employed in the sense of not making an effort; not putting forth exertion; and then would express the idea of leaving matters with God, or of being without anxiety about the issue. Compare Exodus 14:13, “Stand still, and see the salvation of God.” In this place the word seems to be used as meaning that there was to be no anxiety; that there was to be a calm, confiding, trustful state of mind in view of the displays of the divine presence and power. The mind was to be calm, in view of the fact that God had interposed, and had shown that he was able to defend his people when surrounded by dangers. If this the divine interposition when Jerusalem was threatened by the armies of the Assyrians under Sennacherib, the force and beauty of the expression will be most clearly seen.


Responses

  1. my dear kara,
    i hope the Lord will show you how precious your words are to one old lady in new mexico…this is exactly what i wanted to hear this very day, already the Lord had spoken to take the morning off at least that, and sit with him and well full of reasons -on the inside-quiet on the outside- i was already balking at the thought of being still thinking smugly to myself sure i can give a few moments to that! well I am humbled by how selfish I am as I have taken a request from the Lord of Lords who wants to sit with me and put it in my time frame…
    thank you for your honest evaluations because your authenticity brings life….
    biggest love,
    susan yeager

    • My dearest Susan, Thank you for sharing. It is so good to hear that I’m not alone! I love that we get to share this adventure with a very patient God who cares so deeply. And, of course, I love you tons. Kara

  2. beautifully said Kara it is so true. we need to be still and know that He is God.


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