Cease Striving - Girlfriends in God - March 12, 2014

March 12, 2014
Cease Striving
Sharon Jaynes

Today’s Truth

Quiet! Be still! (Mark 4:39, NIV)

Friend to Friend

One January morning, I asked God, “What do You really want from me?”

I had just finished a big writing project and was ready to tackle the next big thing for God. I snuggled in my favorite den chair with a steamy cup of coffee and my well-worn Bible to spend some alone time with my Heavenly Father. I read a few verses and said my prayer. Check. Check. When I started to get up, I felt God’s invisible strong hand holding me back. He wasn’t finished. Be still and know that I am God, He seemed to say. Cease striving.

Suddenly, I saw myself with the disciples caught on the stormy Sea of Galilee. As I pondered the past twenty-five years of my life, I saw myself reeling in the waves of ceaseless activity. A squall of busyness raging around me—and in me. Reeling from one foamy crest of work and deadlines to the next and hanging on for dear life. In my mind’s eye, the fellow passengers were not the motley crew of the first century disciples, but women from every walk, trying to steady themselves in the turbulent waters of life. Perhaps you were in the boat with me.

“Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” they asked. “Help us!”

Then I sensed Jesus speaking to me just as He had spoken to the raucous wind and waves, “Quiet! Be still! Settle down!”

So I sat.

After a few moments, I realized I didn’t really know how to be quiet and settle down. I had never mastered the full idea of “be still and know.” I knew that God was God. It was the “be still” part that stumped me.

Sitting still was not in my nature, and perhaps it was my nature God was trying to tame. My “nature” or natural bent of working for God was standing in the way of my worship of and communion with God. My daily routine of sanctioned quiet times was getting in the way of the divine romance in which He wanted me to engage.

Does it surprise you that I could say such words? Oh friend, I am nothing if I am not honest. I have that glory ache, the longing to experience God’s presence and working in my life, just like you. Sometimes I can get so busy doing, doing, doing, that God’s gentle whisper drawing me closer is drowned out by the noises of my own making.

How sad to admit, that sometimes when God extends his hand to invite me onto the dance floor of life, my dance card is already full. Many nights I lean over to turn out the bedside lamp, collapse in exhaustion, and sigh, “maybe tomorrow, Lord.”

I don’t think “be still and know” comes naturally to any of us. Aren’t we taught to get moving? “Keep your eye on the ball.”  “Focus on the target.”  “If you don’t’ know where you are going, you probably won’t get there.” Motivational phrases for sure. But this was God talking, and He had a different message. While the world prods, “Don’t just stand there, do something!” God was telling me quite the opposite. “Don’t just do something, stand there.”

Now He had my attention. So I stayed put.

“OK God,” I asked, “What do You really want from me?

He surprised me. He often does, when I take the time to listen. Acts 17:28 came to mind. I believe He put it there. In Him we live and move and have our being. Learn what that means, He seemed to say. I opened my Bible again and read the words, pondering each phrase individually.

 In Him.

We live.

And move.

And have our being.

I sensed God speaking to my heart. That’s where you will find the secret to satisfy that glory ache. That’s the answer you are searching for. That’s where you will find what your sisters hunger for. You’ve been asking the wrong question. It’s not what I want fromyou. It’s what I want foryou. And in this one little verse, you’ll find the key—not just for yourself, but also for others in the boat with you. This will calm the squall of your frantic heart.

God startled me that morning. I was expecting Him to give me a new assignment—something to do for Him.

Another project to complete.

Another study to devour.

Another cause to support.

But He surprised me. It was none of the above. It was one verse. In Him we live and move and have our being.

I wondered, could this be the key to unlock the door behind which the salve to satisfy that glory ache was hidden? The door upon which I had been knocking far too long? I was excited to accept God’s invitation as He extended His hand for mine.

Today, I encourage you to take it too.

Let’s Pray
Dear Lord, Sometimes, I am not just caught in the storm, I am the storm. Help me get quiet, settle down, and listen. Today, I am living in You. I am moving in You.

In Jesus’ Name,


Now It’s your Turn

Go back and read the story of Jesus calming the storm in Mark 4:35-41.

Have you ever said these words to God, or at least thought the words, “Don’t you care?”

Jesus cared. Jesus cares. He’s just not worried.

Today, here’s what I want you to remember. Jesus is in the boat with you. If that gives you comfort, click over to Facebook page and leave a comment that says: Jesus is in the boat with me.

More from the Girlfriends

Do you long to feel close to God but sense there’s something missing? That you’ve missed that mysterious formula to make it happen? Do have a glory ache–a persistent longing to experience God’s presence and working in your life, but not quite sure how to make it happen? If so, my book, A Sudden Glory: God’s Lavish Response to Your Ache for Something More, is just for you. Join me and discover how to erase the lines between the secular and the sacred to experience a deeper, more intimate relationship with God than ever before. While you’re there, you can download a free chapter or watch a video book trailer. Also, remember, we’re making 2014 a year of prayer! Check out Praying for Your Husband from Head to Toe and sign up for the 30-Day Prayer Dare on my site as well.

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Originally published Wednesday, 12 March 2014.