Secret #1: Be Still

BE

“He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God.’”

Psalm 46:10 NIV

Every time I read this verse, it takes me back in time to one of the many youth choir tours I participated in. One year, we sang a song called Be Still, and I’ve never been able to get it out of my head! The lyrics were straight from the Bible:

“Be Still and Know that I am God. He will be exalted in the nations. Be Still and Know that I am God. He will be exalted in the nations. Be Still. Be Still. Be Sti-ii-ill. Be Still. Be Still. Be Sti-ii-ill.”

Ironically, the church in which I grew up, the one where I sang this song, the one that provided so many incredible, oh so cherished choir trip memories, is not where I learned how to actually Be Still and Know God.

When I was younger, I heard people talk about their “personal relationships with Christ,” but I didn’t understand what it meant. I think I needed the “Dummy’s Guide” to having a personal relationship with Christ! I needed someone to tell me that to have a relationship with God, in addition to prayer, it is necessary to spend quiet time with Him. My “personal relationship with Christ” truly only began when I introduced the practice of getting still in His presence. I began to set aside periods of time where I just tried to calm my body and mind and literally be as still as I could get. During these times, I began to receive communication from God, and a back and forth relationship, like I had heard described, was born.

Communication from God does not come in simple words during times of stillness. It comes in the form of the most beautiful truths, felt in the deepest part of the soul. It comes in the form of glimpses into the very soul of God, through overwhelming wisdom, insight and awakenings. Once, I became sure on a soul-level that God is within me. That I have everything I need inside of me to face any possible thing that could come my way. I never have to be afraid of anything, because the Spirit of God truly is within me. I have received glimpses into the kind of love that God has for me and others. True, deep certainty of how loved I am. A picture of myself as I truly am. A feeling of being loved. A picture of someone else as they truly are.

Even when I am feeling low, I come to God and get as still as I can. Sometimes in this type of mood, I cannot help but add my own groans to the groans of the Holy Spirit interceding for me.

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”

Roman 8:26 NIV

I have come to God many times in frustration, anger, tears, begging for relief and forgiveness. When I have added a period of stillness following these prayers, he has assured me of not only His forgiveness but also His wisdom.

Let me give you an example. One particularly painful Monday, I was feeling very low. My prayer and meditation time with God went something like this:

Me: God, I feel horrible. I feel like I am a horrible mom, a horrible home-maker, horrible at my job, basically horrible at everything. And yet, I have been here so many times that I know these thoughts are not true. I know they are just in my head, and that makes me feel even more horrible. How many times am I going to have to be in this low place where I feel awful like this and don’t trust and believe Your truth, that I am a beautiful child of God, that I am doing the best I can, that of course I am a good Mom, employee, etc.? That making a few mistakes here and there is normal and that I don’t have to be perfect? Please forgive me for feeling this way God.

Note that there may have been some more vulgar words used to express how I felt, for which I immediately apologized and asked forgiveness. Then came as much stillness as I could muster between sobs and groans.

And then I had a glimpse of God’s voice speaking to me as follows.

God: My precious and beautiful child. You have asked forgiveness for the wrong things. You do not have to apologize for getting tired and for feeling weak. In your weakness, I am stronger. I created you to need me constantly, and you will return to this place many times so that I can demonstrate my power through your trust and faith in me. I forgive you, my child, but not for feeling badly. I forgive you for not remembering that it is okay to feel badly. I forgive you for not praying simply that you trust in me and that even though you are tired and not feeling good about yourself, you trust that I will provide you the assurance and comfort that you need. You are feeling guilty about not doing enough at your job and for your family, but I submit to you that there are other areas of your life that you have let go that are much more important. Weren’t you supposed to have a follow up visit with the doctor a couple weeks ago to make sure you are truly better and not still sick? Get up and call the doctor. Take care of these things which don’t seem as important as the big things in your life, and the big things will fall into place.

Wow! What an amazing peek I had that day into God’s world!!

I am a beautiful child of God, and even in my lowest point, I do not need to apologize just for feeling low and needing Him.

I do need to remember to be still in His presence, no matter my mood. Especially, when I am low, I need quiet time with God so that He can shine a light into the darkness and guide me out of it.

I do not have a moment of enlightenment every time I get still. Sometimes, there is no lightning bolt revelation. Most of the time, there is no lightning bolt. But how many times, really, does one need to be hit by lightning to be electrified?

Spending quiet time with God has set my soul on fire and I continue to do it, because no matter if I am hit by lightning or just showered with the calming rains of God’s love, it is the lifeline through which God nourishes my soul. Being still in the presence of God is a habit that not only gives us a-ha moments but also peace, comfort and serenity on a daily basis no matter what else is going on around us.

This post was originally published as a series of devotionals on The Sisterhood’s blog – http://www.tothemoonmom.com.

Advertisements

Six Secrets for Seeking God

You don’t have to be perfect. You are loved beyond measure, not for anything you’ve done or will ever do, but because of God’s grace and what Jesus has done for you.

This awareness of God’s grace doesn’t mean that you can sit back and rest on your laurels. In fact, it’s quite the opposite! When we become conscious of just how much God loves us, He infuses us with the Holy Spirit and sets our hearts on fire to do good work!

So just how do we balance our passion for good works with acceptance and self-love?

By seeking God first.

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be aded to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Matthew 6: 33-34

For a long time, when I heard these verses, they only resonated as a song I’d sung at summer camp when I was little. You probably know the one –

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God
And His Righteousness
And all these things will be added unto you
Alle-lu-Alleluiah”

Now I understand that these words are more than just lyrics to a beautiful melody; they are a guideline for living. When we seek God first, everything else just falls into place.

Below are six practical suggestions, or “secrets,” for seeking God. I will dive into each of these tips much more over the coming days. These practices can help you gain a consciousness of how loved you are so that you can keep things in perspective as you try to set and keep goals. They can help you find that elusive balance between pushing yourself and being gentle on yourself.

  1. Be Still – seek God by spending quiet time with Him
  2. Be True – seek God by listening to the inner voice of the Holy Spirit
  3. Let Go – seek God by releasing what you can’t control
  4. Get Uncomfortable – seek God by trusting Him outside your comfort zone
  5. Feel Pain – seek God by experiencing pain as a pathway to spiritual growth
  6. Be Present – seek God by training your mind to stay in the current moment

I challenge you today to try and seek God in a fresh, new way.

  • Set aside 5 or 10 minutes to just be still, clear your mind and connect with God.
  • If there is something you need to let go of, surrender it. Write it down and put it in a “God Box” or give it to God in prayer.
  • If there is something you know the Holy Spirit is calling you to do, follow that voice. Even if it is scary.
  • Trust God to get you through whatever you might need to face today. Even if it is uncomfortable.
  • Instead of seeing pain as a weakness, see it as a teacher. Lean into it.
  • If you’re worried about something in the future, make a conscious effort to bring your thoughts back to the present moment whenever they stray to the future.

After the verse that tells us to seek God first, Matthew tells us not to worry about tomorrow, for each day has enough trouble of its own. That means that we have to hit the reset button every day.

I can’t seek God once a week. I have to seek Him first, every day.

Every day, before I step on that scale.
Every day, before I eat breakfast.
Every day, before I put on my workout clothes.
Every day, before I think about those New Year’s Resolutions.

Every day, before everything.

This post was originally published on The Sisterhood’s blog (tothemoonmom.com).