Originally published Friday, 11 July 2014.
Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalm 46:10
Years ago I had a Bible study teacher who said she could always gage a person’s walk with God based on how they said Psalm 46:10. She said that only a person truly rooted in a deep faith could say the verse with the right emphasis and expression. I avoided saying that verse in front of anyone for years. I wondered if reciting it inspired other people’s spiritual measuring sticks to pop out.
No claims to spiritual greatness here! Being still is hard for me. It’s easy to feel rushed, busied, and distracted away from the fullness of resting in Christ.
In an effort to cease striving and rest in God’s complete sovereignty, I’m committing to taking one day a month to head to the beach, a park or a place I can find a little quiet in God’s beauty. I’m going to attempt to make it a monthly date with Jesus for the rest of the year, but might only be able to make good on the commitment for the Summer...we’ll see.
When you think about our verse, how is the Lord tugging at your heart that you need to cease striving? How does He want you to personally know that He is God over your life and over everything?
Some years back I was convicted in one particular way to cease striving. As a ministry wife there’s always more to be done for church. If not for church, for the community, the country, the world! Need oozes from every direction. Desire to address those needs is good, but if desire and passion run your ship, you’ll run aground. Only the Lord’s direction is fit to guide us. The Lord showed me that just because there’s a need, it doesn’t mean He’s calling me to it. I learned to start looking to see if there was someone else able or willing to do the task. Perhaps even someone almost able and willing, who just needed a little help or scaffolding to step out. If someone else could do the task, I should make room for them. By jumping at every task I’d not only wear myself out (and my poor husband) but also squelch the growth of those around me! I was horrified at that thought! Now, before I take on a task I am careful to ask, “Am I the only person who can do this?”
There’s a few things in the world that you and I are the only people who can fulfill. I’m the only wife my man’s got. (Such a good thing! We're reading through Genesis in church right now and the whole Rachel and Leah thing...yikes! what a mess!) So I ought to pour full effort into being his wife. Then there’s things that are just for a season. Sometimes I’m the only person at church who can lead worship for a women’s event; sometimes we’re full up with worship-leading-women. I’ve got a group of very musically gifted college/youth girls who I adore playing with, but the main reason I play with them right now isn’t my personal joy (that’s just a fun perk), it’s that right now I’m the only one available to help them along in their development. I’m not fantastic at it by any stretch of the imagination, but hopefully our practices and the opportunities to play for women’s events develops their musical gifts and worshiping hearts along the way. By guarding the time and attention I pour into something by first asking “Am I the only one who can do this?” and seeking whether or not God is calling me to it, I’ve cut down on some of my striving so that overall I can more readily cultivate a quiet spirit.
If you can, carve out some time to get quiet before God, ask Him how you ought to make a habit out of your “cease striving.” Ask Him to personally reveal Himself to you as Lord over the facets of life that make you spin your wheels.
For those of you joining our Summer Refreshment Series, here's a pdf. download of Bible verses centering around the theme of seeking stillness. And just for fun, we've got another facebook cover for you too. Right click the image below, or follow this link to download. Enjoy!