Be Still and Know

“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

I’m not very good at being still. Even as I’m typing this, I’m noticing that I’m always moving: fingers typing as I write, foot tapping as I think, eyes scanning the room as I try to form sentences. I have to make a conscious effort to just be still, or I won’t stop. And this constant movement isn’t confined to fidgeting. My days are filled with tasks stacked upon one another like volumes in a second hand book shop. Between school and work and church, days can feel like mini-marathons.

There’s nothing necessarily wrong with movement or busyness. I believe followers of Christ should work hard for the glory of God (Colossians 3:23-24). But I’m beginning to notice that a life without much stillness can become a life without much time for God. The more I commit to do, and the longer my days become, the harder I have to work to focus on the Lord. The problem isn’t that I avoid God as much as I focus too much on everything else. While the old hymn stands true in that, “the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace,” a converse of sorts also seems to be true: his glory and grace can grow strangely dim if you focus on things of earth. This isn’t to say that anything is more glorious than God, simply that a misplaced focus can quickly shift your sights away from the target.

And once I start moving, I can easily adopt a task-focused mindset, always trying to do my best to accomplish everything on my list. Before I know it, I find myself worn out, and it’s usually about that time that I realize I’ve been working in my own strength, not walking with the Lord and working in his power. Without the proper focus, I can start to live like everything depends on me, forgetting my place as a servant. I easily forget that fruit can only be produced through abiding in the Vine (John 15).

Psalm 46:10 challenged me recently to step back, evaluate, and refocus. I want to walk like Jesus walked, but, to do that, I need to learn to be still. Jesus took time to be alone with God, and he had far more on his plate than I’ll ever have on mine. So let this be a challenge to myself and to all of us to consciously and intentionally make time for God. Spend time meditating on his Word. Talk with him through prayer. Listen for his still, small voice. And always remember that he, and he alone, is God.

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