Be still and know that I am God.
Be still and know.
The above breakdown of Psalm 46:10 was presented this way in a book I am reading called Lead Like Jesus by Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges. It is something that they utilize at their Leadership Encounters before sending their attendees off for 45 minutes of solitude and prayer.
With the arrival of the new year comes new goals, new resolutions, and renewed determination to accomplish those things we did not complete last year. It also seems to bring the onset of new busyness as we press on to attempt to succeed to reach the high bars of expectations we have placed before ourselves.
Work harder. Be more effective. Accomplish more. Make greater progress. It is amazing what we tell ourselves in our minds. Even more incredible is the determination and will to see it through. When we focus the efforts of our time, talents and treasures it is astonishing what can happen.
Yet with all the “progress” that is being made, goals being met, tasks being completed there still seems to be a lingering feeling of emptiness in the air.
Have you ever heard or thought to yourself these things? I am feeling so drained. I am just tired. I’m wiped out. I’m exhausted. I wake up in the morning feeling as though I have hardly slept. I have such a great restlessness in my soul. I can not slow down, if I did how would all of this work complete itself. My to do list is daunting; it gets longer every day and not shorter. I feel so empty.
We all long for refreshment, for renewal, for rejuvenation and for restoration. In John 4:13-14 Jesus says, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
How are you feeling right now? Are you that spring of eternal water, welling up and quenching not only your thirst but the thirst of those around you? Or are you feeling a bit dry? Do you have a dry sticky feeling in your mouth and your throat because you long to taste fresh water upon your tongue? Does your “cup overflow” as it says in Psalm 23 or does your cup just have a few drops of water that linger in the bottom?
For any of you who have children or are around children, have they ever brought you their cup that they needed refilled? Have they stood their moving their cup up and down, back and forth or holding it with one unsteady hand? What do we as adults do in that situation? Do we attempt to pour into their cup as if aiming for a moving target? Or do you do like I do and take the cup from their moving hand so I can steady it with my own before pouring. Isn’t it so much easier to fill something when it is not moving?
In my time of solitude with God yesterday, that is exactly the message that I received.
To pour out, you must be filled. To be filled you must be stilled.
Below is an excerpt from Life in the Spirit by Mother Teresa. It may sound familiar to you because it is basically an interpretation of Psalm 23.
“The Lord is my pace setter…I shall not rush
He makes me stop for quiet intervals
He provides me with images of stillness which restores my serenity
He leads me in the way of efficiency through calmness of mind and His guidance is peace
Even though I have a great many things to accomplish each day, I will not fret, for His Presence is here
His timelessness, His all importance will keep me in balance
He prepares refreshment and renewal in the midst of my activity by anointing my mind with His oils of tranquility
My cup of joyous energy overflows
Truly harmony and effectiveness shall be the fruits of my hours for I shall walk in the
Pace of my Lord and dwell in His house forever.”
If we are feeling empty, dry and burned out, we can ask the Lord to fill us, to refresh us and to restore us. To accomplish that, God is likely going to ask us to be still. Now if you feel compelled to go, go, go because you absolutely HAVE to. I completely understand. I spent many years thinking that myself.
Let’s go back to the analogy of a parent pouring a drink for the child. If they do not give us their cup, do we really make much of an attempt to pour while they sporadically move about? Or do we wait until they hand over their cup so, in the steadiness of our experience, we can pour more effectively?
What about when we bring the cup of our lives to God? What do you think His response is? Do you think He attempts to fill our cups while we frantically race about from chore to chore? Can you picture the living water splashing upon the flour as we pull our cups aside just as it is about to enter our cups because we thought of something we had to do first? Or do you think that God is waiting for us to hand over the control of our cups, so that He may take them into His steady hand to pour out what He has for us?
At this point, perhaps you are thinking it sounds so nice, but I CAN’T! Maybe you are thinking that it is an impossible struggle to be still. Ask God to help you. Place the control of your life in His perfect hands.
Psalm 23 says, “He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters.” The leading action is of the Good Shepherd, not of the sheep. It does not say that when we have arrived at green pastures and we are beside quiet waters, God will meet us there. It says, He will lead.
Here is the hard part for us. We have to let Him. God has given us the gift of free will, of choice. He will not force Himself upon us. But, if we ask Him to help us, God is graciously waiting with open arms ready to engulf us with His love. When we come to experience this love, even just a glimpse of it, then it draws us and becomes so richly inviting that we long to return to it whenever we can.
As we go about this day and we ask of God to pour into our cups, may we just take a moment to see whose hand the cup is in. Is it in our shaking hand moving about or has it been placed into the steady hand of God.
Dearest and Beloved Lord,
Thank You for leading us to the stillness today that we may sit and take in the messages that You have for us. Thank You for the ever present leadership in our lives. Thank You for Your faithfulness and Your steady hand.
May we be reminded in this day that You are the Good Shepherd, who loves each of His sheep more than we can imagine. May we come to You in whatever state we are in, from abundantly refreshed to the arid dryness of the dessert. May we experience the eternal wellspring of Your love. May it restore our serenity and grant us a peace that paces understanding.
Please bless each person who reads these words with an increasing desire to be stilled in Your presence and from that, may they be abundantly filled. In Jesus’ name, Amen.