“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10
Perhaps you’ve heard it said before that God made human beings, not human doings. Some of you might read over those words and chuckle to yourself and others might roll your eyes as if saying, “Yeah, I know. I know where this is going.” Still, some of you might love those words as they continue to serve as a constant reminder to you to live fully in each moment that God graciously gives. Whichever view you might have of this short but sweet expression, there is no doubt a significant lesson to be learned within, quite possibly the refresher we all desperately need.
The first six months of this year were filled with busyness for me. Of course, I would start by saying that it was a good busyness (fruitful ministry and work for the Lord), but nevertheless, I was very busy. Working part-time at Starbucks while teaching up to three different Bible studies each week, traveling for two straight months to continue teaching Bible study, and finishing up the busiest six months of my life…you guessed it…teaching Bible study. I became consumed with my schedule of busyness. I began to notice this increasing desire to do all and go everywhere, and as if God knew I was ready to embrace burn-out (which of course He did know), He divinely interrupted my schedule with an extended and much needed break. I have to admit that I struggle with down time. If I had things my way, I’d always be on the go, filling my days with meetings, work, and people. I know I need rest and that rest is good, but my tendency is to strive to do instead of just be.
Maybe you can relate to my confession all too well. In a world addicted to speed and fast-paced living, a world that celebrates “busy”, productivity, and a full plate, being still almost seems counter productive, does it not? The house needs to be cleaned, the laundry need to be done, the children need to be fed, the husband needs to be prioritized, and not to even mention all the demands that are expected of us outside of the home. Where in the world are we ever going to find time to just “be still?”
I don’t know about you, but I tend to learn things the hard way. Perhaps you can relate again. The ultimate lesson that I have undoubtedly learned in my own addiction to speed is that in failing to rest in Christ and refusing to be still before my Maker, I have sacrificed a countless amount of joy. It is in the still and in the quiet that we see the face of our God painted in a glorious sunset. It is in the still that we hear His gentle and soft whisper, beckoning us to come and delight in His presence. It is in the still that we can recognize His active work all around us. In the still and the quiet, we finally can see the beauty to be found even in the desert. In the striving, however, is where we lose sight of His activity because we are so caught up in trying to do it all on our own. In the busyness, we find worry and angst, which leads to weary because we realize that there is never enough time in a day to satisfy our to-do lists.
How about we invite a divine pause into our lives, a simple rest from speed, and start to take great delight in a God who orchestrates the rising and setting of the sun, whether we ever lift a finger or not? And what if this choosing to “be still” ushered a fresh and new joy into our lives, a fullness that has been lacking in our addiction to speed? What if slowing down caused us to finally look up and give thanks?