WORDS BY KATEY LEE
The concept of “being still” is found in many places in the Bible (Psalm 46:10, Exodus 14:14 to name a couple) and is one that a lot of us take comfort in. While this concept of "being still" is pretty easy one to comprehend, it can be difficult to practice.
I like to be busy, to feel productive, to fill my time with work and people and activities. After a period of busyness, I like to rest, which usually involves my bed and Netflix and mindless scrolling on my phone. But when God tells us to “be still,” I don’t think that's what He has in mind.
To be still is not passive. It doesn’t happen by accident. It is a moment that happens between you and God when you ask for His true and perfect peace.
This season of holidays, with family, shopping, cooking, and celebrating can be so stressful. It’s certainly not easy to find a moment during all the festive madness to pause. Sometimes it’s even difficult to find time to check things off the never-ending to-do-list -- like bake enough cookies or get enough sleep. But I don’t think there is a more appropriate or important time to take a moment to be still with the Lord.
The very name of Christ addresses the importance of being [still] with God. When the angel appeared to Joseph in a dream to tell him that Mary was going to have a baby (aka Jesus), the angel said, “’they shall call his name Immanuel’ (which means, God with us)” (Matthew 1:23). This is the core of why we celebrate the birth of Jesus. God wants to be with us and He wants us to be with Him. Because Christ was born and because he died and rose again, God is with us and we can be still in his presence ... always.
Whoa, right? It’s not often that I reflect on the gravity of that. The weight and depth of the fact that God – you know, that guy who created the entire freaking universe – is with us. He is already here, waiting and ready for us to stop our busy lives for just a moment and be with him.
When we can be still amid chaos, whether that chaos involves angels coming down from heaven to announce the birth of Christ or the chaos of a hundred family members arriving for Christmas dinner, we put ourselves in a position to receive the things that God has for us.
In chapter 1 of Luke, an angel comes to Mary to tell her that she is going to give birth to Jesus. She is understandably confused and caught off-guard by this announcement, being betrothed to Joseph but not yet married and still a virgin. But her reaction to this bizarre and shocking news is an inspiring example of someone taking a moment to receive God’s perspective and to be still with Him.
The angel tells Mary (or, I like to think perhaps he gently reminds her), that “nothing will be impossible with God,” and, I imagine, Mary took a deep breath, maybe shaky at first, but after a moment she replied, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.’” (Luke 1:38).
This resolve that Mary shows, to accept and live out the plans that God had for her, doesn’t mean that everything was fun and easy from then on out. In fact, it was quite the opposite! From traveling miles and miles on the back of a donkey, to giving birth in a stable, to fleeing for dear life to Egypt, there is no question. Things were still hard. “Being still” isn’t a quick fix, it’s not going to give you the answers to life or solve all your problems for you. But it is a way to refocus and reconnect with our Savior and to let Him speak into our lives, quite possibly in ways that we don’t even know we need.
To be still is intentional. It is active and alive and life-giving.
It’s a mindfulness; a meditation on God and who He is; his goodness and his power and his overwhelming love for you. It’s a shift in perspective that comes when we take a moment -- maybe a literal moment, just a breath -- to breathe, to refocus, and to allow God’s higher perspective to settle over our own earthly one.
Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, underwhelmed, or just a little bit off, take a second to be still.
Close your eyes.
Ask God to give you His eyes and His heart.
Ask Him to align your perspective with His.
Ask Him for peace and stillness that can only come from Him.
God asks this of us.
He is ready and waiting to give you His peace and perspective.
He wants us to know that He is with us.
He knows that it will change your life.
You just need to take a moment and ask.