Be still, and know that I am God. -Psalm 46:10
The Lord will fight for you, you only need to be still. -Exodus 14:14
These verses were the first God spoke to me. I had recently made the decision to work on having a relationship with God, and in doing so had been trying to memorize Scripture. I didn’t know how to hear Him, but I read in a Karen Kingsbury book (a Christian author) that God spoke to the characters by bringing verses to their mind during different circumstances. I thought I’d better learn some Scripture so I could hear Him, too!
In this season of my life, the command to be still takes on new meaning. See, I’m not good with “quiet.” While I crave quiet moments (don’t all mom’s?), quiet moments with God make me nervous. I cannot keep my mind still. Thoughts start formulating (usually they are negative, so I know it’s not God!) and my mind starts to wander. When I am anxious to hear from Him, I tend to give up if I don’t feel Him speaking to me early on. Rather than continue to sit quietly in His presence, I remind myself of all the “stuff” I should be doing and move on.
Lately, though, I feel God commanding me to be still. I have already taken care of clearing my schedule (mostly); well, God took care of that for me when He moved my family to Ohio. I sense now that God wants me to focus on quieting my mind. With the conference coming up, and the opportunity to meet with a publisher, my mind has been working overtime. I’m constantly thinking about it: what I need to do to prepare, how I’m not cut out to be an author, and trying to think of content for both the book and blog. I’ve seen a rise in my impatience and frustrations. I’ve felt the temptation to check out and spend my “free time” on mind-numbing activities. The old me is fighting to break through.
A few weeks back, I designated every Sunday as a Sabbath day, which for me is a day away from electronics. I stay off my phone and my iPad. I work on Bible studies. I read Scripture. I journal. I spend time with my family…quality time, not time with my face in my phone. And it’s been great.
On Thursday, I sat outside under a tree with my youngest beside me and watched my son ride his bike. I didn’t have my phone. I wasn’t busying myself with anything. I simply sat, watched, and praised God for the beautiful day. I felt very convicted to take many, many more moments just like that. I felt rested. Peaceful. Content.
Sometimes I get too caught up in the “doing”: cleaning, picking up, shuffling my kids to and from, making lists, doing laundry. This carries over into my spiritual life as well: read Scripture, journal, work on my book, read my devotions, pray, Bible studies.
The “still” makes me feel unsettled at times. In relation to parenting, if I’m “still” I feel lazy, unproductive, or as though I’m failing because I should be “doing.” In relation to my spiritual life, “still” makes me uneasy because I fear not hearing God, or hearing Him but not liking the direction He wants to take me.
And yet, now more than ever, I feel God urging me to be still. The careful balance of parenting and writing threatens to tip at any moment and knock me to the ground, and my fear has been that I can’t successfully manage both. If I follow God’s call to write, I fail at parenting. If I follow God’s call for me to parent, I fail at writing. What God is teaching me, though, is that He is in control. He has blessed me with a beautiful, supportive family and also with a desire to write. He isn’t asking me to neglect either one; He is encouraging me to take more “still” moments with both Him and my family. This means less time on my phone. Less time trying to knock out a big Christian “to do” list (read, write, pray, repeat). More time being present with my family. More time simply being with Him.
Trying to do it all . . . it is simply draining. Taking the time to sit and just be still . . . it is simply life-giving.