“Be Still and Know That I Am God” writes the psalmist in Psalm 46:10. Being still in our minds, hearts, bodies, and souls is the true beginning of our spiritual journeys. Until we can achieve that stillness, we are beholden to the voices in our minds that have always ruled us—the guilt and shame, the way we look outside ourselves to others for what we are to be, the materialist and mind-centered ways of our culture which forgets about our hearts and souls and bodies which contribute to the whole of who we are. Until we are still, until we can hear the Indwelling Spirit of God who would lead us to our true selves, we are a captive of the world and its ways.
“Be still and know” is probably the best advice we will ever hear. If you’ve tried to meditate or to do Centering Prayer, you know that the quieter you become, the noisier your mind gets. So how do we overcome this new wrinkle in our journey? We learn to become an observer of our thoughts, interested in their source if we can figure that out. The source(s) probably lie in our childhoods, especially our parents’ prohibitions and directions. These have been with us for years trying to keep us on the same path we’ve always been on. So, the more we can step back from our normal reactions to all these “shoulds” and see the thoughts for what they are, the more we can turn off within us any attempt or urge to follow them. We observe, but we do not become engaged, thinking : “Oh, I must do this or that!” We begin to treat them as the old “friends” that have been with us forever, it seems, but we no longer follow their demands of us.
Then, when they arise in us, we see them and continue settling into a peaceful state of mind. We open ourselves to the Spirit of God, to prayer, to an ongoing conversation with God. “Being still” means that we accept what is and continue to direct our thoughts and hearts and souls and spirits to the Lord. We are to open to what He is suggesting to us, to His nudges and the pictures in our minds of what we are to do next. We are listening for His input in what others are saying to us. Is there a resonance in us to another’s suggestion? If there is, we do that—whether it is reading some book or something else. We listen no matter whether the suggestion is for another way to drive home or whether it’s a question like this one I heard: “How can I say I love God, if I can’t love my mother?” After this thought came to me, I tried for two years to love her—unsuccessfully, but then on a railroad platform in Wilmington DE, He surrounded us with a cloud of love which changed both of us. I was able to love her as she was and she was grateful for every single thing I did for her!
When God talks to you–in your mind or through other people–just do what He suggests. He is using everything that happens to us in this life as a way of bringing us into His plan for us; challenges and blessings offer us new ways of thinking and responding. If we are able to be still, then we will be guided by Him. And we will learn to fully trust His voice, that “still small voice of 1 Kings 19:12 (KJV). God wasn’t speaking to Elijah in the loud earthquake or in the fire, but in a “gentle whisper” as the NIV version translates it. We have to be still enough to hear that quiet voice within us. And then! Well, then, as we follow that voice, no matter what it suggests, we will find a whole new life for us here on this beautiful earth! And that is the Lord’s intention for each of us: to live fully as we were created to live.
Questions to Ponder over the weekend: Am I ale to sit still in the presence of God? Or am I disturbed by the thoughts in my mind? How might I relax and let their demands go to the back of my mind where they won’t bother me?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who can sit in stillness before Him, who can let the pressure of our thoughts go, who can experience the presence of God. May we practice and practice until that stillness comes easily to us
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- I am giving away a 10-week journaling guide to Jesus’s Two Great Commandments. If you are interested, email me at email@example.com and I will send it to you, free of charge.
- My latest books, “Called to Help the Poor and Needy” and “A Study Guide to the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount” are now in bookstores and on line. The first is about the more than 2,000 verses in the Bible which detail God’s instructions for caring for those in need. The second is a journaling/pondering guide to Jesus’s most complete sermon.