The term “be still” is everywhere these days – blogs, tattoos, t-shirts and inspirational Instagram pics. The original is from Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
My non-hermeneutical interpretation: find the time to quiet your mind and listen for God.
I recently watched a great video entitled – you guessed it – “Be Still” by Lisa Chan. “We are living crazy times where life is so full and has so many distractions and so many things to do. Every year life gets busier and busier, and there’s more things we add in and more things we try to accomplish. And in all of this madness, God who never changes, and who always stays the same is saying “Be still.” Well, how in the world do I do that?”
How in the world indeed? I fail miserably at being still. And I feel guilty about not being still. But I am determined to change that. A friend and I have been chatting a lot lately about prayer. Prayer is another something I struggle with. I start praying and before I know it I’m reviewing my to-do list, thinking about what to make for dinner or I have drifted off to sleep. My friend shared a blog by Sarah Bessey where she writes about how she prays, “I sit down and I begin to read, jotting down verses as the Spirit illuminates them to me. I can’t always explain how this works but as I read the Bible, sometimes it feels like certain passages or words will take on a brightness to my eyes, an illumination, and I think, I need to write this down…Not like promises or talisman, not like magic spells, no. But to give language to what I yearn for, what I believe, and even what I hope. It’s my way of walking in the counsel of the Holy Spirit, may our hearts be fixed and established on Jesus.”
I LOVE this. Maybe because I am a writer or maybe because it is so simple. The connection to scripture makes it more than a prayer list. As I pray a beautiful image of words, scripture, arrows, hearts and doodles emerges and that is what keeps me focused.
So while I high-fived myself on figuring out how to stay focused while praying I failed at actually sitting down to pray. I would never be successful at “being still” if I couldn’t figure out how to slow down. From the moment I open my eyes in the morning to the moment I close them at night, I rush. I rush to get breakfast on the table, lunches made, kids to school, writing assignment completed, groceries, errands, kids to playdates, dinner on the table and so on.
I recently had an afternoon to myself and decided go to Value Village to look for books and rescue unwanted cross stitch pieces. I found myself rushing through the aisles at an incredible pace all the while checking the time. I was in rushing even though I had three hours to myself with no reason to hurry. I spent the next two hours whispering to myself, “slow down.” And I did.
And now I say “slow down” when I wake up. I say it during breakfast while teaching my eldest how to make waffles. I say it at the grocery store as my daughters decide what to make for dinner. I say it at the beach as I watch a hot pink sun fall off the edge of the earth. And I say it before I sit down to pray.
Slow down to be still. I’m already designing my new tattoo.