Be Still and Know
This year, I approached the Christmas season with eager anticipation and excitement. With the Thanksgiving left overs still in the fridge, I could hardly wait to get my Christmas decorations out of the attic! I went through our living and dining room and took down our usual decor, stored it away and replaced it with cheery reds and greenery! It brought me such joy to surround myself with all the keepsakes and mementos of the season. Equal to my personal enjoyment has been watching my kids take delight in all the little Christmas decorations and traditions within our home.
It’s not always so lovely! Each year, depending on my circumstances or stage of life, my excitement for Christmas vacillates. Last year, I recall it feeling like a chore or more like drudgery to go through the motions of gift buying and decorating. I had to force myself through it each step of the way. Internally, I was counting the days until it was over.
Interestingly enough, whether there are visions of sugar plums dancing in my head or I’m more akin to Scrooge, the busyness of the season is something that is an all knowing constant. The “to do” list seems endless. From parties, baking, shopping, wrapping, decorating, entertaining, class parties, coupled with life’s usual responsibilities, it all just makes my already busy schedule feel even more stretched.
I find that in order to get it all done, I try to strategically schedule every spare minute, often times to the point of sheer exhaustion, only to wake up and repeat the next day. Some days I hit the mark, other days I fall short. But whether I can enjoy a sense of accomplishment or set out to try again the next day, I find either way, it isn’t enough. When my daily routine begins getting so filled, when I begin living to complete a checklist, I have this constant internal nudging that my focus is skewed. I begin to feel waves of anxiety and unrest.
Ironically, the more I schedule, the more I neglect. The more I accomplish the less I invest. Can you relate?
To make the most of our time, our days, our opportunities, we need to schedule, carve out and insist upon allowing ourselves to be still and know.
After weeks of internal unsettling in my spirit, I took a step to breaking the cycle. It’s nothing new, it’s something I know the importance of, it’s something I often encourage others to do… I simply needed to carve out my schedule to sit alone. To be still and know, the He is God. To literally stop all activity, worry, planning and mentally and physically check out and check in with God.
“He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10 NIV
Why is that the first thing I let go of when the busyness of life creeps in? Its embarrassing to admit.
There isn’t a right way, time or place to do this, but for me, in my current stage of life… carving out the quiet time takes planning, thought and commitment. Personally, I need a place where I can be free of distraction and have the items I need within reach to spend some quality time with my savior. I have an old desk in our unfinished basement. My lamp, bible, paper and pen is all I need to take the focus off of myself and change my focus to Him, his plans, his purposes.
The actual space doesn’t matter one bit. It can be in your car, your bed, at your desk… WHERE you spend time with the Lord is your preference, however WHEN you do it, it impacts your perspective, purpose and your peace.
From my little basement space, I write this gentle reminder to you. The fulfillment of a completed check list will just lead to another list. The fulfillment found in Christ can restore, sustain and uplift you.
One of my favorite verses was penned in to a song. It gives me rest when I can feel the busyness mounting in my heart and mind:
“Be Still And Know”
Be still and know that He is God
Be still and know that He is holy
Be still Oh restless heart of mine
Bow before the Prince of Peace
Let the noise and clamor cease
Be still and know that He is God
Be still and know that He is faithful
Consider all that He has done
Stand in awe and be amazed
And know that He will never change
Steven Curtis Chapman
Have you gotten away from your personal quiet time with the Lord? Has the busyness of the season distracted you from what’s most important? Make a daily appointment with your heavenly father. Put it in your calendar, and keep your commitment, just as you would a doctor’s appointment or an interview for a new promotion. Don’t delay or re-schedule. All the other things will begin to gain new meaning and perspective once you have invited God to be part of them with you. Hey, you might even find that some of those others things aren’t worth your time at all.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2