"Be still, and know that I [am] God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth." Psalm 46:10
We Christians know this verse really well, don't we? It's a great one. I love the encouragement that the entirety of Psalm 46 offers.
What I don't like, though, is when this particular verse is used as kind of a Bible study tip. You know, if you want to know God, you've got to be still. Stop moving. Sit down. Silence everything. Find a quiet chair. In a dimly lit room. At a little desk with a study lamp. Oh, and make sure it's really early in the morning. Before the first bird has chirped. There are mixed opinions on whether or not you can have your coffee during this time or if you should wait until later.
Don't get me wrong, because it sounds amazing, but that feels like a lot of pressure because, oh my gosh - when does that moment ever come for a mom with four kids?!?!
If you look at the context of Psalm 46 and look into the word, "still," and how it's used in other places in scripture, you'll see it's less about not moving and more about letting go. Sometimes it's a physical letting go, but obviously here it's a letting go of worry and anxiety, and trusting God. Though the earth shake, He will not be moved.
We Christians are great at taking things out of context and too literally. Be still. Stop moving. And then you'll know He is God.
David also rejoiced, in Psalm 23, that his cup was running over. When is the last time the waitress overfilled your tea glass and you were glad? How happy are you when one of the kids overfills his cup? You're probably having to bridle your words, not rejoicing. But if we want to be literal, then we should be happy, as it must be a sign that God is near. That's a stretch, obviously...I'm just making the point.
You may be wondering, "What on earth is your point?"
My point is that I believe we need to give ourselves a little freedom, as far as what seeking God or praying or quiet time or whatever you want to call it, looks like. Sometimes I feel I have the most clarity and connection when I'm mopping the floor. I often feel nearest to Him when I'm doing something creative. When I'm writing. When I make something with my own two hands. And I think it's because I'm doing something really close to what He created me to do. Sometimes moving is what stills my mind most. Kind of like a kid with ADHD.
We need to avoid judging each other for the ways we seek God (preaching to myself, here). Maybe we need to quit judging ourselves.
Some people thrive in a quiet room. They really need and love literally sitting still before the Lord. Some need noise. Some dance (I don't and you're welcome). Brother Lawrence, a monk, experienced God's presence while washing dishes. Eric Liddell, the runner whose story is told in "Chariots of Fire," said, "I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure." He never felt closer to God than while running. I don't understand that at all. I have never felt closer to death than while running.
But, give me a project, some wood, sandpaper, paint, a saw...and I am happy and content and I'm telling you, I sense His pleasure and hear His voice. I even think sometimes He gives me advice on whatever I'm working on. Seriously.
I'm not saying we shouldn't ever set aside time to read scripture and pray or fast or attempt those early morning times with Him. I do all that. Heaven knows the days are better when I begin that way. But I've had so many conversations through the years with friends who feel condemnation because they aren't "doing it right." Some phases in life make it challenging and when someone comes along with yet another man-made rule to follow, it isn't freeing, its heavy.
I think I'm saying just be who you are. Enjoy the way He made you and be aware of His presence when you do what you do. Part of what makes you holy, set apart, are all the little things He put inside of you. Incorporate Him into everything you do...into all of your moving. Not just those fleeting moments of stillness. I believe He delights in us using our gifts and talents, especially when we recognize His nearness in it. Recognize His craftsmanship inside of you.
For we are his workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works, that God prepared beforehand, so we may do them.