Thursday, January 31, 2013

The art of being still

"Do not be afraid. stand firm
and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today.
The Lord will fight for you;
you need only to be still." Exodus 14:13-14

My first instinct is to fight, struggle, exert some, any kind of effort. But God asks us to be still. That's different from sitting back and relaxing or taking a break. When I read" be still" I tend to think "rest". But the act of being still is not so simple.

Have you ever tried to be still? Consider yoga poses for a moment. There are some that seem to be so simple, until you actually try them. Then you become aware of how much effort and determination each pose demands. Every muscle works hard against the force of gravity. You are suddenly and excruciatingly aware that unidentified muscles in your body are prone to spontaneous flinching. Your body trembles from the sheer effort and every muscle screams for release.

Be still.

It takes great spiritual muscle to be still at the beginning of each new year. My soul stirs and my mind races.  Analyzing and reflecting on the past year I want to jump into action in the new. I'm anxious to tackle new ventures and projects.  I'm eager to start a new effort to self improve in some area of my life, family, ministry, or finances.  And yet, I know that is precisely when I need to stop, enter into a time of prayer and fasting, turn to God and ask for His direction for the year.

Be still.

He's calling me to a higher plan. Taming my stubborn, directionless will and strengthening every inch of my soul. He asks me to focus and turn inward, and allow Him to do the needed adjustments. If I would plant myself deep and stretch myself, He promises to fortify me and strengthen all that is weakness in me.

Be still, He says, don't move until the noise dissolves, and the world melts away. Breathe deep, clear your life and mind of all the clutter and focus only on Me. And finally firm and steady, His voice is clear and comforting, peace and confidence.

Be still my soul! Be still heart! He is working out your rescue! He is drawing you near. He is fortifying you whole: body, mind and soul.

My Provider. My Protector. My Guide. He goes out before me. He stands guard behind me.

Be still my soul! Listen. He beckons, "Come, talk with me" and my heart replies, "Lord, here I am." (Ps 27:8)

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