The Pain of Being Still

I’ve had a difficult time writing today. Not because I have nothing to say. (I’m pretty sure that is a rare occurrence for me!) The problem has been my inability to be still.

 I have done something to my back, and for the last couple of days, sitting still has been nearly impossible. As long as I’m up and moving around, the pain radiating from my lower back into my legs is manageable. When I have tried to sit or lie down for any length of time, the discomfort has grown to the point that I physically cannot stay still.

Thankfully, the pain is easing slightly this afternoon, and I am able to sit down and put some words on the screen.

As I thought today about what I might write when I was able, I began to think of other times in my life when I have experienced a different kind of discomfort in being still. There have been so many times when I occupied my mind with anything and everything I could find or kept myself busy in any way I could think up to avoid being still with my thoughts.

 Have you ever been afraid to be alone with your thoughts? Have you experienced the discomfort of being still?

Typically when I experience that discomfort, it is because there is some thought or feeling I need to face. I keep my mind busy with television or music or Facebook or sometimes more productive tasks – anything I can find to avoid facing the issues I don’t want to deal with. I find it interesting (and often annoying) that God rarely lets me get away with avoiding the issues for very long. I’ve lost count of the TV shows which He has used to speak to me about the very things I’ve immersed myself in the show to avoid!

The thing is, I know that the sooner I allow God to bring things to light and speak His truth in the midst of the pain, the sooner I can be free to run with Him again. The world tells us that staying busy is the way to be productive, but I have found that in these times when I’m staying busy for the sake of busyness, the most productive thing I can do is to be still and let Him remind me that He is God in my circumstances.

And now, friends, as I get up and pace my flat and do some stretches to find relief, I invite you to be still and see if there is discomfort or pain for which you need some relief. If you find yourself unable to be still, I encourage to ask God for His help to face the cause and let Him bring healing and peace.

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Cease Striving…

I’m a day late with this post… I started to write a number of times yesterday, and the attempts covered four very diverse topics. As you can tell, none of them made it very far because nothing was posted. I fretted off and on throughout the day about being late with a post, and by the time I had to leave for a meeting, the page was once again blank.  

I had planned to try and get something written when I got home at nearly 11:00pm, but my brain was still swirling with too many potential topics and the happenings of the evening. It was after 12:00 when I gave up on the idea of getting something written before I went to bed. For the first time in months, I would just have to be late to post.

Last night, during the meeting, I started to think about one of my favorite verses in the Bible: Psalm 46:10. Many translations start the verse with, “Be still and know that I am God.”

It may seem crazy to say after calling that one of my favorite verses, but honestly, I don’t really like that. Maybe it’s just me, but I find those words an easy excuse to sit and do nothing while waiting for God to show up and do His thing. “Be still” paints a picture in my head of just sitting and twiddling my thumbs, but I am fairly certain that isn’t at all what is meant to be communicated by this verse.

In the NASB, the verse reads, “Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” That paints a completely different sort of picture in my head. It is not an excuse to sit idly by and wait on God to move. It speaks to my heart an invitation to be a part of what God is doing, and to do my work in His strength. Striving comes from trying to do things in our own strength, trying to control things ourselves instead of allowing Him to be God in our circumstances.

The other thing I love about Psalm 46:10, is that God WILL be glorified in the nations and on the earth. That is a certainty that doesn’t depend on my abilities or zeal. We are invited to be a part of seeing that happen, but it is as we “cease striving” and allow Him to work through us that His name is lifted high!

I was striving to write yesterday, and I got nowhere. Instead of settling my mind and asking Him to speak through me, I was determined to get words on the screen and fulfill my self-imposed duty to post on time. 

What are you striving to accomplish today? Maybe you need to stop and let Him guide you and empower you for the task ahead.