January 31, 2007
Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.” (NIV)
Friend to Friend
For years, I filled every waking moment with activity. I lived by the principle that busy people are productive people. It was only after I crashed, spending two years in a deep, dark pit of burnout and depression that I learned the eternal value of stillness. This pivotal life lesson is stated in the simple words of a shepherd: Psalm 23:2 “He leads me beside quiet waters.” The psalmist writes this soothing promise from the perspective of a shepherd tending his flock of sheep. A good shepherd understands the truth that sheep are never fully at ease around rushing water because every sheep innately knows that the weight of their wool – when wet – will drown them. A wise shepherd understands that he must make sure to lead his sheep beside still waters.
The lesson of stillness is essential to our spiritual growth and health. We, as His sheep, need still quiet waters. If we insist on spending our days in the rushing water of overcrowded schedules and unrealistic expectations we will surely drown! Stillness demands quietness and solitude! The busier we are, the more we need regular solitude and stillness. In other words, we need stillness the most when we don’t have time to be still. A Greek motto has become a profitable challenge to me: “You will break the bow if you keep it always bent.” Until we learn to stop and be still before God, we are in danger of bending and breaking under the pressure of daily life. Many of us are terribly busy – but only on the outside. Stillness allows us to do the inside business with God that is our main source of strength and power.
The command to “be still and know that He is God” implies that until we are still we cannot know God but when we are still we can know Him. So much of God is unknowable on the run and yet we tend to offer Him the scraps and leftovers of our time and energy.
Even Jesus sought solitude as a place of strength and power. When Jesus was tested, He retreated to a mountaintop or desert wasteland to be alone. There, away from the demanding crowds and distractions of life, He would meet with God. There, He found the strength to do what His Father had sent Him to do. If the Son of God needed stillness and time alone, then how much more do we need that same kind of time?
Father, I know that I need to be still before you. I have chosen a time and place to meet you in solitude and stillness. Please help me to give you the best part of my schedule instead of the leftovers. Amen!
Now it's Your Turn
- Recognize your need for stillness
- Set aside time each day this week to spend with God.
- What “time thieves” do you need to eliminate from your schedule?
- What long-term commitment do you need to make concerning stillness and solitude?
- What areas of your life seem to be out of control and need to be submitted to God?
More from the Girlfriends
Learning to value and practice solitude is one of the hardest struggles of my life. Just about the time I think I have it down, I find myself having too much to do. I have to come back to the truth that in order to survive and thrive in life, I require stillness. And I have learned the hard way, that if I don’t choose to be still, my loving Father will arrange the circumstances of my life so that I will be still. Don’t go there, girlfriend. Start today. Be still!
For more on this topic, see Mary’s book, Escaping the Stress Trap.
Girlfriends in God, Inc.
Originally published Wednesday, 31 January 2007.