Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Be Still, but Still Be

Be Still and know that I am God.

That's what He says.  And of course!  Because when I'm just sitting here and it's just me and there's not much going on and I'm just kind of reflecting on life, enjoying the beautiful butterfly that seems to have made the backyard home and the little nuthatch I've named Red that lives in my rickety birdhouse and a Bible within sight and a smathering of empty vessels...all is still and I absolutely know.

It's when I have to get up and actually do something that it's a bit harder.

Almost as if when my feet start moving, my heart shuts off and there's this disconnect until everything is over and everything is still and I suck in that one deep breath of everything and nothing all at once and go "Whoa.  God was here and I totally missed it."

I was busy.  Sorry.

It's when you're trying to live in the moment but the moments go by so fast and if you linger on one too long, you miss them all entirely.  It's easy to lose God in there.  It's easy, even if you're thinking about Him, even if you remember Him...when life doesn't seem still, it's all-too-easy to forget to KNOW.  To remember, to think about, even to know, but not really to KNOW in the way that is confident and trusting.

Because when you look down and you see your hands doing something, it's easy to put everything in those hands you see instead of the ones that in the stillness, you know hold you.

Then what's the answer?  Should we stop everything to be still, just so that we can know?

Absolutely not.  Or as Romans would say, 'By no means!'

We just have to change the way we think of 'still.'

God doesn't want us to be idle. That's not at all what He created us for, and it's not even how He created us.  He created us to...honestly?  create.  He created us to do and to be and to breathe and to live.  None of that is done in front of the television, resting in the bed, or even under the holy guise of sitting around with a Bible and a prayer book and looking for all the world like that's what's really important.  (You know when you try this, your mind wanders, too.  Don't pretend it doesn't; we aren't noble creatures.)

Yet we have turned this word still into a synonym of idle, and that's the only way we can seem to fathom it.  By that definition, how do we reconcile God's command to be still with the wisdom of His creation that it is in us to work, even to create?

We can't.

Because to God, 'still' means something different.  It means...something steadier.  Still is not something you do; it is something you are.  Still is not something you stop everything and enter into; it is a state of being in the heart that you take with you.  Still is...I guess we could say it is steady.  And it is deliberate.  It is a heart that refuses to get swept away in the moment, to get drawn up into something that is lesser than the presence of God.  It is able to block out the other voices and to continue to KNOW despite what your hands may be doing.

It's this beautiful symbiotic (mutually feeding) relationship where when you are still, you know, but when you continue to know, you are also still.

That, then, is the discipline.  That is what we need to take with us when we walk out the door, when we take on a task, when we set our hands to work.  We need to have that quiet time, that still time that sets our hearts on God, that draws near Him and knows, but we need to take with us that confidence of knowing.  We need to walk out and be as God has created us to be without forgetting to know, to really know...and then we'll find that even in the midst of our hardest 'doing,' our hearts will be steady.  They will be unshakable.  They will stand.  And we will be still.

Because we know.  That He is God.

How can you work stillness into your busyness?  How would that change the way you interact with your world?  Or yourself?

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