be stilling

be still

Originally uploaded by jon.swanson

I’ll be talking about being still on June 10. That comes out of Psalm 46 where God tells us to be still and know that He is God. Of course, I am having a rough time being still. I sit on the deck and drink tea or coffee and read but the noise is deafening (all the twittering!) and my attention these days is wandering.

So help me think.

Is being still the same as being in silence? How long to I have to be still before I know that God is God? Is there a time constraint or is it something else? Do I need to still myself or can God still me?

Psalm 46 starts by talking about some absolute chaos (mountains and oceans and turmoil). As you think about being still, can you imagine it being in the middle of the earthquae?

Is stillness a weekly thing, a daiily thing or a wishfull thing?

Is there any other way to know that God is God?

Are there cultural constraints to stillness? I mean, do siesta cultures have more stillness? Or is it an arrogance thing? or what?

Or do I just need to stop talking?


6 responses to “be stilling

  1. 1. I don’t think it’s linear – be still then know, but circular – God can reveal Himself to us in our stillness, but equally valid is that knowing God leads to stillness. It’s an upward spiral. When I am in a place of emotional and/or mental tempest, I need to be reminded that God is God. That’s exactly what stills the storm. Maybe I can still myself enough so God can remind me who He is, but sometimes, I think it takes someone else reminding me so that I can be still. This seems like a great way to interrcede for one another as well.

    2. Brother Lawrence did not let his awkwardness or his errand cause him distress, “He simply told God that is was His affair, after which he found that everything turned out nicely.” Can it really be that simple? Do we overcomplicate everything with our endless analyzing and striving and rehearsing?

    3. I think physical stillness has very little to do with it. Although it may be easier to hear God’s voice in the silence. I think all that is really needed is an expectant silence in one’s head.

    4. I think a lifestyle of stillness may be possible. Yesterday I desperatly needed to know that God was God, and because I have the luxury (and bane) of being able to set my own schedule for a large part of the day, I spent a lot of time praying and listening. But, I also spent time working and doing. I asked God to move throughout my day – to guide each step. And then I followed. When I wasn’t sure what to do next, I waited. And I was very aware that He was with me as I worked prayed rested ran errands had conversations. I think, maybe, with some discipline and a lot of faith, every day could be like that.

    5. For me, stop talking is important. But the shut up that is most important is the voice inside my head.

    6. Shutting up now. Sorry for the super long response, but this has been on my heart increasingly lately.

  2. Sorry, one more thought. I wonder if being still doesn’t automatically lead to knowing, but just creates space for knowing.

  3. while walking today, i started wondering about our experiences of God’s presence. We often think we feel it when we are doing or have just done something great ‘for Him’. But if God cares more about our being than our doing, maybe what we are feeling is our own emotional buzz. Which is why we end up being so driven to keep doing for God …so we can get the buzz. And why, when we are waiting and trusting, we think that God is distant and we wonder where He is. Maybe we are in withdrawal from spiritual activity addiction and the jitters are not God’s distance but our own symptoms. And maybe, just maybe, He is sitting right there holding our hand, like the friend who sits with you during detox. You may not know it, and you may be lashing out at them, and you may not feel like much, but that isn’t His distance.

  4. You’re going to think this is crazy but when I read this, I thought of cats at the vet. If you haven’t had to take a cat to the vet for shots or a procedure or something, you might not know what I mean.

    Cats freak out when they’re transported. They meow and cry and everything in the waiting room. They go ape when you take them out of the cage for the vet to give them the once over.

    And then they’re still.

    They resign. They say, “This is what it is,” and they kind of check out for a moment.

    That’s how *I* see stillness.

  5. There is surrender and there is “checking out”. And I am being made painfully aware that they are not at all the same thing. (except maybe for cats).

  6. The withdrawal thing is intriguing and clever, but I think it might be a distraction and that the real issue is spiritual warfare.

    Here’s why. If we exist to love and be loved by God, then learning how to be still and experience His presence more constantly, more fully is one of the, if not THE primary lessons of following Christ. It’s What. It’s. All. About. So, my guess is that the enemy may be pretty hard at work to prevent us from learning the lesson.

    Whenever I have felt the presence of God to be very real and very close, I am almost immediately assailed by the whisperings of doubt, “That was just hormones, pretending, craziness.” And I’ve experienced real mental chaos, a complete inability to order my thoughts; in other words, spiritual oppression.

    If we could learn to move in and through God’s presence as we move in and through our days; if we could be still enough to rest in knowing Him and let go of our doubts, fears, insecurities; If we could learn to go, stop, detour, wait at His voice, we would have strength and power leaking out from all over us. Kingdom power.