I used to be always on the go. Felt like time was running out. Seemed as if I was chasing my own tail, striving to become something that I didn’t know I already was. While I am partly to blame, society, trends, clichés and poor information had me believe that “hard work” is the secret to success. I’d make excuses to further solidify my unhealthy attachments to being busy, and burned out in the process. Until, that day came and I burned out. It was at this point where I heard God telling me “There is a better way”. I had no energy to fight any longer, opened my Bible and got the confirmation I needed, slap, bang in my face.
Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. – Psalm 46:10
Both these words seem to be at a premium these days. Starting with “Be”; we are constantly trying to validate our being by doing, and we do so much that we fail to simply “Be”. Secondly, “Still”; for many, the only time we are still is when we crash out and fall asleep. We have become overly busy, uptight, and pressed from all sides in a chaotic world. If we all took a few moments a day to cultivate both, we just might find some much needed peace and calm in our lives.
But why do we find it so difficult to Be Still?
Stress and anxiety happen when we are approaching or reaching the limit of what we have learned to tolerate thus far. This causes a stress reaction triggering our fight or flight response, releasing adrenaline, cortisol, and other stress hormones, giving us that feeling of urgency and constriction. We habitually stretch ourselves out of our comfort zone (which is good), but then enter our destructive zone (not so much). The issue here is that we spend so much time in the realm of destruction that it has been normalized and doesn’t even resemble its very nature. We overcommit to things that we know we cannot complete, we make promises without thought of what each entails, and we are pretty much dragged in all directions by the random current of our external lives.
When I can recognize this happening, I say to myself “Be Still” and it gives me that slight pause I need to stop and remember who God is. It allows me question what I want my next move to be. Rather than impulsively acting and regretting later, I now have a quiet moment where I can choose how I want to respond to everything.
This kind of awareness of the stillness is what allows us to experience the powerful and intimate presence of God. This kind of stillness allows us to limit moments of anxiety. Getting caught up in the anxiety of the moment narrows our world. It shrinks our perspective to the limited scope of conditioned unconstructive programming. This space and stillness combats everything that we have accepted as normal and essential, and allows room for us to hear where God is leading us. When we be still, we open our field of vision and we see the limitations in pretending as if we have it all figured out. Going through the motions and pretending that you’ve got it all worked out but in reality you are doubting and second guessing yourself every step of the way, is not productive. I know what this feels like. Doubt and fear creep in no matter how many times I’ve done something, but there is a cure in the deepest and darkest of these moments: be still.
The power of these two words is in us identifying the words that follow …. ‘and know that I am GOD”. Not you and I, but Him. When we understand who is in control, we no longer need to pretend that we are. We no longer need to make excuses for why we are basically killing ourselves trying to make it work. We cannot control what might happen, and the experiences that come our way. We cannot see the pitfalls that are ahead and we cannot control the uncontrollable. But if we be still and know that He is God, we won’t have to, but can still experience peace.
We cannot control the world around us, but we can control the world within us if we just be still enough to find it.
This is not how your story ends;