June 14, 2021
The Risk of Stillness
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"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 (ESV)
A friend reached out to me not long ago. She was spinning so fast emotionally that you could see it affecting her physically. I placed my hands on the outsides of her arms, as if to hold her up - or hold her still - as she spoke.
Her marriage was in knots. One of her kids was acting out. Her pace of life was making her crazy. A misunderstanding had caused a rift between her and a dear friend.
I knew I didn't hold the power to stop her spinning in that moment. "I love you," I said, looking into her eyes, "but you need Jesus right now."
There would be time for us to connect. I would help in any way I could, and my friend would need the support of her people as she navigated the path ahead.
But now, first, she needed to be alone with God and receive the peace only He can give.
In the stillness and quiet, not only do we connect with God, but we are also able to more clearly identify what's wrong. Recognizing our spirals and naming them is the first step to interrupting them.
I asked her to spend 30 minutes alone with God, and she agreed.
But when I checked in 24 hours later, the only thing she had to report to me were the 30 reasons time alone with God just hadn't happened. Oh, and I get it. I'm the same way!
Why is the simplest, best thing for our souls' long-term health so crazy difficult to do?
Because real, connected, intimate time with Jesus is the very thing that grows our faith, shifts our minds, brings about revival in our souls and compels us to share Jesus with others. It's where the spiraling of our minds stops. To put it plainly: All hell is against us meeting with Jesus.
Amid all the busyness of our lives, we've made it impossible to hear His voice saying, "Be still, and know that I am God ..." (Psalm 46:10a).
During my own 18-month season of doubt and heaviness, I rarely chose time alone with God outside of studying and preparing for Bible teaching. Because if I slowed down enough to look at my soul, I might be overwhelmed by all that needed fixing in me. I didn't want to hear what God might say to me - or take the risk that He would remain silent, deepening my doubt about His existence and love.
What is it we're running from? What keeps us from carving out space and time for the quiet we so desperately need?
Ready for it? Yes, we are busy and distracted, and it is hard to sit still. But we are also afraid of facing ourselves and facing God. We are afraid of being found out.
We forget that He not only loves us but actually likes us too.
The antidote to running from ourselves is running to the only One who helps us get over ourselves. The lie is that we will be shamed. The truth is that the God who is creator and sovereign over the universe, the God who conquered sin and death, is the same God who wants to be with you in your pain, doubt, shame and other circumstances. "... God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance." (Romans 2:4b, ESV)
Once I re-initiated contact with God, I realized that the fears I'd harbored about connecting with Him were completely unfounded. This should have come as no surprise. If I were to ask you to complete the sentence, "When we draw near to God ..." what truth follows it? "He will draw near to us."
The line is taken from James 4:4b-8a, a passage cautioning believers against being overtaken by the ways of the world. The apostle wrote:
"Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, ‘He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us'? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.' Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (ESV)
And then in summary he wrote, "Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you" (ESV).
When we humble ourselves before God, submitting fully to Him - regardless of what has kept us away, what we were doing while we were away and for how long we allowed that chasm to grow - we find He was always there, waiting for us to come back.
Lord, help me to prioritize my time with You. Help me to know that You never leave me and that, any moment of the day, I can turn to You, and You will be there to help, strengthen and love me. Thank You for Your constant faithfulness to me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
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What if there is a better you on the other side of the worst thing you think about yourself? Are you ready to stop the negative self-talk and overthinking? Our next Online Bible Study is coming: Get Out of Your Head by Jennie Allen! This study will help you overcome the battle going on in your mind by getting into a community with other women who have fought similar thoughts. [Sign up today!]
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Jeremiah 29:12-13, "Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart." (ESV)
What has kept you from spending real, connected, intimate time with Jesus recently? What's one way you can draw near to God this week, remembering that He wants you to come to Him no matter what? Let us know in the comments!
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