Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Be Still

Unfortunately, It’s been awhile since the last time I blogged.  I have missed it and missed connecting with people through common struggles and life experiences! So, after a period of intense studying and intense relaxing I am back.

Do you ever wake up feeling like you are in the same rut as the day before? Some days I go to sleep thinking, tomorrow is a new day, I will wake up SO refreshed! And in the morning I feel physically refreshed but not mentally refreshed. This weekend is a prime example. I knew I had a long run coming up on Sunday before church so all of Saturday night my mind was dreaming about missing my alarm and then not being able to finish my run! Some days I go to sleep with the most pressing concern still on my mind, and I wake up with the concerns of the day before becoming the chores of today. I know that this is bad. It is like my mind cannot be separated from the things I have to do, and I go to sleep wanting to be as productive in my rest time as I am in my active time. And in the case of my Saturday night dream, I wake up exhausted because not only have I stressed all night about something , but its like I mentally ran 10 miles before I ever got out of bed! I feel like this happens to many people, before a big presentation, before an interview, before the first day of school or a big date- our minds just keep running and running all through the night.

I wish I had a great mental exercise to say here, like humming in bed with your legs crossed for 10 minutes before you go to sleep. I could insert a great promise that the exercise would work WONDERS for you. I would say that ‘you would wake up and the problems of tomorrow would fly far away on a magic carpet ride!’ or something incredibly cheesy yet very enticing. Because in all actuality, I wish there was an ‘Easy’ button (Staples commercials) to press in real life. Unfortunately, I think I would press it way too often. I wish life was easy. I wish that some days I didn’t go to bed and carry the stresses of yesterday into the next day. But I do.

So today as I was doing a quiet time in the morning, a new revelation hit me. I think the be-on-guard-for-whatever-may-come mindset is a symptom of a greater problem I have. I hate to admit it, but it’s a faith problem for me. I would love to say that I have faith to move the mountains, I have faith as wide as the sea, I have faith that 100% trusts in God every step of the way all day. If any of you do have this faith, boy do I admire you. Having faith is something so easy to talk about. It’s easy to say that no matter what comes your way you have blind faith. It’s easy to encourage others to 'just have faith' because it will all be okay. I realize that the words I speak become so hard to live whenever trials and stresses come my way. I have accepted Jesus Christ as my savior, knowing that he died on the cross for me. I have been forgiven and redeemed. But the daily act of faith is so much more than a simple belief. It is a huge life commitment. I know I will never be perfect, and I am thankful for that, but for me personally I realize that my faith should grow as I grow. I’m not saying I have to wake up daily to prove my good works and actions, but my heart, soul, and mind should belong entirely to God as reflected in my faith.

Oswald Chambers, in my Utmost for his Highest,  chose the verse “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth” (Psalm 46:10) as the verse he focused on for today's devotional. This verse hit me head on.  So, even though I am not an English pro, I’m going to give my English insight into the verse.  “Be still and know that I am God” is a command. God commanded the author of Psalm 46 in the midst of the “nations in uproar” (v.6), and the war (v.9) to just be still. I don’t know if this is something he has placed on your heart, like he placed on mine. But he commands me to be still. “Be still” is our verb, or some form of a verb (this is where my English goes down the drain). This is an interesting verb, because it requires that we are not doing any other action word. We can’t be still and run. We can’t be still and fight. I even think that it extends to quieting our hearts and minds. So not only should our bodies be still, but even our minds. So we can’t be still and plan, be still and arrange, be still and demand. How many times do I do this? SO MANY. I come to God with my plan, with my demands, my issues. And it’s like the whole time I’m doing any other action word besides being still. I’m planning, I’m arranging my future, I’m scheming, I’m pushing back on an idea. Being still is scary. I have come to enjoy the ever constant noise and distraction of life, as much as I would hate to admit that.  I seem to like being distracted, I like the noise, I like the things that keep me so busy. I don’t want to appear as being boring, alone, or unproductive.

And this is where not being still, burdens my faith. Because when I am not still, my faith is not focused on knowing God. My faith is focused on the action words I can do. I can do a lot of action words, I can do them all day, for the rest of my life without having the faith that God requires. I can be distracted with the noise of life for the rest of my life, without having the faith that God requires. I do understand that God commands us to do many action words like teach, pray, believe, love. However until I follow the command “Be still and know that I am God” I will not truly believe with absolute certainty the power of my God. He is big. He is powerful. I am not.  In the midst of war, chaos, and confusion, the Psalmist heard God speak in a great way. God said if you are still, I will do all the work. I will carry you. “I will be exalted among the nations and the earth.” Isn’t that such a great promise? God told him that if he quit moving and was still God would do all of the action words needed in life. At the end of the day God will be on the winning side. He will triumph over all evil. He will carry us through. The commitment we have to make, is to be still enough so he can hold us in his hands. Be still, so that I can hear him speak. Be still so that I can know the characteristics and personality of my God so that I be a small glimpse of his image to others.

So my command today, is to be still so that I can know God. This could mean something entirely different for every one of us. It’s between you and God, what that personally means to you. I can’t tell you what revelations God will bring, or what God will say. However, I do believe, our faith will grow along with us. And God will take the stresses of today and restore our hearts for the next day. And maybe just maybe, we will get that big break that we have been looking for. Maybe it will be like a spiritual vacation. Maybe we will get to sit back, relax, and enjoy God’s awesome show.

Psalms 46:10
Be still and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted among the earth.

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