For When It’s Hard To Be Still

Have you ever noticed how a photograph—of someone you know or a scene of nature—can cause you to be still for a few minutes or longer? It holds a moment in our life or a mesmerizing sample of God’s creation. When my computer screen is idle, my photo collection rolls, and if my husband or I are nearby, it’s inevitable that we just stop and watch and eventually get misty-eyed. The photos stir emotion and memory, gratitude to God, and sometimes reflective words that testify to His character.

“Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46.10a)

These God-breathed words have arrested my heart countless times. When I’m overwhelmed in a years-long trial or stress is shaking me to the core, God makes this Word known again to my heart. All at once, I feel loved yet humbled. His words comfort me like I might comfort a child. Stop. Remember who I am, how you’ve experienced me, what you’ve read about me—and trust Who I am. He humbles me, too, and I realize I haven’t been still much lately, and the power of my will, mental wrestling, and self-determination are wearing me out.

You and I have opportunities every day to stop, give time to be present to God, and practice experiencing Who He is—and what that means for us. As LORD, He commands us, and as our loving heavenly Father, He guides: Be still, and know that I am God.

His aim is our heart, that we personally know Him as our all-powerful, all-knowing, always present, sovereign God—through firsthand experience in prayer, the scriptures, and being still with him. He calls us to stillness for our good and for His glory.

Be still.  Stop moving, be quiet, and be present. Stop moving our mouth and mind and maybe our body, too. Put down the phone, close the computer, turn off the TV, step away from that project. The rhythm of our work or family life challenges us to believe that we can give up some time to ‘be still.’ Yet, notice God doesn’t say how long. He doesn’t say, Be still for 5 minutes… 30 minutes… once a week. It’s an intriguing invitation and uniquely personal to each of us.

If you go to a presentation that requires your undivided attention, you stop everything else because you don’t want to miss the big moment. If you have a child, you’ve likely told him to be still when you want to tell or show him something significant. God requires our undivided attention, for us to truly know him and trust him.

Be still.  Where? When?  . . .  in the carpool line, while you sit in the bleachers alone, during your lunch break, in a comfy chair with a cup of coffee, or looking at the amazing sky, a flower that’s just bloomed, your child as he sleeps or simply fascinates you. Ask God when and where, and He will show you. He wants this time for you and with you. How? Close your eyes or watch, listen, reflect, wait, praise Him. God is always in our midst; yet in stillness, we step in to holy communion with Him. We obey and show him our love, being still WITH HIM. And He keeps his promise—He grows us to know Him, such that His peace anchors our heart and transcends every matter it carries.

In stillness, insight unfolds. Nature reveals His power and majesty. Quiet makes space for His voice. Reflection transforms hard life stories into testaments of His character.

Dear God,
You are mine and I am yours. You are all I need, my safe place, my strength. Quiet my thoughts now and help me be still. I want to know you. I want to rest in You as God. Amen.

Passionate Pursuit {day 26}: The Surpassing Worth

DSC01950I know who she is… she works at the school and has 2 little boys.
I know her… she’s dependable.

We know the difference between knowing about someone and truly knowing the person.

For instance, we know about our child – hair color, height and weight, current abilities and activities. The facts. But to truly know her or him, spending time together is key. Intentional, focused time. This is the only way to experience who she is. To discover her character. To learn how to engage with her in every circumstance and conversation. Getting to know her takes from our time. Time whose purpose we determine daily. Yet our gain is incalculable really. How do we measure the value of intimacy? God-ordained, heart-enriching, relationship-transforming intimacy. The truth is we’ll be discovering who she is for all her life and ours. Well, that is, if we pursue this. To continue to know her.

DSC01951This series, Passionate Pursuit, points to the most important.  Knowing God.
Experiencing who He is, discovering His character, practicing engaging with Him in every circumstance and taking time to know Him through His Word.

Jesus said to God, “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (John 17.3)

…that they know you…

“Indeed, I (Paul) count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” (Philippians 3.8a)

The worth of knowing God…
security, peace, wisdom, discernment, courage, encouragement,value, vision, hope, love… and guidance for how to have that beautifully intimate, God-ordained relationship with our child.

Holy God,
Give me the courage and grace to step in and draw near to You. Show me the way to know You more. Thank you that You remain near, always. Amen.

Passionate Pursuit {day 25}: Getting Answers

IMG_0617I.DON’T.KNOW.WHAT.TO.DO….

We whisper, whimper, cry or scream these words from time to time. Exasperated, discouraged, afraid, fretting, worn down, or stressed out.

IMG_0652We’re not supposed to have all the answers – or even a lot of the them.
Every answer we need, God has.

We’re not gonna know the best thing to do – in lots of circumstances.
God leads… and only asks that we follow.

Perfect words don’t reside on our lips for our countless conversations.
God knows every thought of every person before the first syllable is uttered.

Events will occur that we can’t anticipate.
God is never surprised.

Still, it’s easy for me to step back in to a familiar groove of rehashing or fretting over something. Wasting hours and losing sleep. Applying prayer like an ingredient to get what I want – an answer. Direction for my circumstance. A yes or no.

IMG_0685Often God’s answer is Himself. And we don’t know what to do with this.
He presents Himself. Already knowing the degree to which we know Him, He invites us to engage, abide and know Him more. This is most important to Him.
Worship. Praise. Thanks. Repentance. Surrender.
It’s hard to do because we want concrete answers, results, obvious forward movement.
He wants our heart – and to tend it. Pouring in love, comfort, healing and wisdom.

“Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me! 
You have said, “Seek my face.”
My heart says to you, “Your face, LORD, do I seek.” (Psalm 27.7-8)