Last Friday was Field Day for the elementary students at Front Range Christian School. I had the privilege of substituting kindergarten. As we met awaiting parents on the field, several mothers and fathers exhorted their children to “Stand Still” so sunscreen could be lathered upon their faces and arms.
This reminded me of a time Sammy, Sophie, and I ventured to the Butterfly Pavilion just north of Denver. The Pavilion hosted a number of exhibits. Perhaps the most fun experience occurred within the Wings of the Tropics enclosure where countless butterflies fluttered from plant to plant and other stationary objects. Upon entering the special doors, Sammy and Sophie stopped and stood as still as possible with the hope of a butterfly settling upon them. As they stood still, the butterflies found Sammy’s head and Sophie’s arms to be perfect perches to rest. In this still space, we noticed the beauty of the butterflies and wonder of God’s creation.
Do you think God calls out to His children: “Would you just be still for a moment?”
Whether it is putting on sunscreen, waiting for flying butterflies, posing for a photograph, or lounging on the couch, I believe our relational God invites us to be still with Him.
I began to discover the ways stillness attended to my soul during my cancer journey. Through all the medical procedures and treatments, I found that I couldn’t think clearly, my head was in a fog. I also recognized that I did not have the energy to serve at church, in my kid’s school, or in the neighborhood like when I was healthy. God brought my head and hands to a halt. He so graciously showed me that He wanted me to be with Him; to enjoy His presence. He wanted my heart. Being with Him was enough. It was during this space that I began to let God mine the depths of my soul and renew me from within. I learned how to truly be still with the Lover of my soul.
Stillness is crucial for a healthy soul. If ignored, we tend to reveal symptoms like exhaustion, aggression, addiction, and confusion. Have you ever been too tired to think, to assist someone, or to be kind? Simply doing “nothing” is a balm for our soul.
Psalm 23 reminds us that when we lie down, when we are still, God refreshes our soul. The Sons of Korah exhort us to “Be still and know God” (see Psalm 46:10).
A depth of “knowing” occurs in the stillness. When we cease rushing we experience more of who God is and who He created us to be. Often, we are afraid of being still, as it forces us to be alone with our thoughts in the presence of God. Yet, this is the very foundation for authentic living; being real with ourselves, real with God, and real with others.
Too often we fill stillness with activity. When we have a “few” minutes, we turn on the radio, TV, computer, check email, read a magazine, scroll social media, and even pick up the phone to call someone. In the end, we squeeze activity into an opportunity to be still with God.
Stop for a moment. Let Jesus catch your gaze and gently say, “Stop, be still with me a moment.”
John Eldridge captures the need for stillness well: “When I first listen to my heart, what I often hear is the language and clatter of my old lovers and not much else. There seems to be no stillness or rest. If I try to hold still, my soul reacts like a feather in the afternoon breeze, flitting from place to place without purpose or direction. I almost seem invisible in the noise… When I stop “doing” and simply listen to my heart, I am not anchored to anything substantive. I become aware that my very identity is synonymous with activity” (The Sacred Romance, 162-164).
What about you? Are you anchored to anything substantive?
Do you realize, as a disciple of Jesus Christ, God is your Rock? He is your Strong Tower, Fortress, Firm Foundation, and Solid Ground. When anchored to our triune God we can be still and be known in the deepest parts of our soul. Our identity is rooted to Whom we belong, not what we do.
God gives eternal purposes, faithful plans, and straight paths to those who follow Him. We are loved, forgiven, accepted, justified, and held by the God of the Universe. Safety, security, and satisfaction flow from Jesus, our Savior.
When is the last time you intentionally sat still with your Savior? How can you encourage those around you to engage stillness as a spiritual practice? Are there ways to be still together?
It is amazing how God refreshes us with just a moment or two of stillness with Him. Try it! Ask God to help your heart pay attention to still moments. Instead of filling the space with activity, be still, receive from the Lover of your soul and notice the ways the Holy Spirit refreshes you.
Drips from the Word: Muse about these Bible verses. Let these truths impact your living.
But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul.
Splashes from the Spigot: Drink from deep wells. Check out these suggested readings.
Henry Blackaby and Richard Blackaby. Being Still With God Every Day.Nashville, TN. 2014.
Brian Cosby. Be Still & Know: Meditations on the Character of God. Bloomington, IN. 2011.