Last night I had a hard time sleeping. Even though it was quite late, and I was physically exhausted, my brain refused to shut down and quiet down. Instead, I had this long line of racing thoughts. Things to do, things I forgot to do, things to remember to do. A giant, rambling to-do list ran through my head.
Then a tiny verse popped into my head. Not even a complete verse, rather a fragment of a verse. I mulled on that for a while and started to wonder if I truly understood what it meant. Certainly, on the surface I know what each word means, and run together in a sentence I can get the gist of it. But I don’t want just the gist of it.
I want more.
I want to understand and apply the true meaning. To dig deep, study, and apply not just my opinion of the words but the true meanings of the words.
I fell asleep contemplating what the deep underlying meaning could be.
“Be Still and Know That I Am God”
Psalm 46:10a is the verse. The one that finally stopped my brain from running it’s marathon long run-on sentence to-do list through my mind. It’s funny how scripture can do that. One moment you are thinking about one thing and the next a verse pops into your head and that it. And when this happens, I tend to run with it and see where it leads me.
I woke up this morning fully planning on digging into this verse, but the day had other plans. A friend stopped in with coffee and we chatted for a while. A quick trip to pick up my son lead to running errands and all over town.
Finally, middle of the afternoon I was given the time (or should it be made the time?) to find out. Why, of all the verses of scripture, of all the ones I know by heart, was this one on my mind last night while my brain was running amok on me?
Because Of What It Means
When I really want to know what a verse means deep down I start with my concordance. Having access to the original language and various meanings of those words has proven invaluable to my understanding of scripture. It has allowed me to see deeper, understand more clearly, and apply better the concepts contained within the Bible.
When I started looking at the first part of the verse I found that “be still” means to sink in, relax, to let go, and to be quiet… that’s quite the list of options for “be still.” I see that it’s more than just not moving; it’s focusing, clearing your mind, and meditating. It’s more than plopping on the couch and getting comfortable or grabbing a few spare minutes.
And clearly, I am not “being still.” I am in full on energizer bunny mode. Juggling more activities than I can manage, over scheduling every day, and burning both ends of the candle. This time of the year I am preparing for our upcoming school year, and hoping to finish the list of summer plans I had at the beginning of summer. There are more plans for the day than hours to accommodate.
So I guess I was being told to let it go, to relax, and be quiet. While I was thinking about my to-do list God was telling me to stop thinking.
“And know“… this part of the verse actually surprised me. While I was hoping for a revolutionary nugget, I was shown that it truly just means to know or to learn to know. Other options included to find out or to see, to admit or to acknowledge – but it’s all just means to know. Not beyond a doubt. Beyond a shadow of a doubt. With every fiber of my being, I should know…
It’s an affirmation that we can be assured of the next part of this verse.
“That I am God“… the one true God. Nothing huge or revelating here, just an assurance that He is the one true God. Big “G” not little “g.” He’s it. Creator of the universe and all that it entails. The God, not just a god.
Why Is This Important?
To me, this is vital. It’s not just another verse to know and memorize. Not just another line to call upon when I’m busy or overwhelmed. It’s a declaration to slow down, to relax, to let go of the task-masters and project dictators (read: me and my expectations) and know that I serve God. That the God of the universe, the God who created everything has this all under control. He knows what I need to do. He knows what my family needs. He knows what’s on our plate and He’s got this.
I just have to let go.
This message, in fact, is told to us by Jesus in Matthew 6:25-34. Jesus says that we shouldn’t worry about what we will eat, what we will drink, or what we will wear. That the God who created the universe has it all under control. He takes care of the birds, the flowers, the grass. And He will take care of you.
What we are to do, is to first seek out the kingdom of heaven.
Are You Being Still?
I believe I am being told to be still, and for me, that is not easy. I am a doer. One who does not do well with idle time, or when I don’t have a project to work on. I like to be busy but at the same time, I need to make sure that I am not being too busy. More so, I need to remember (or is it finally learn?) how to truly be still.
I need to reevaluate my knowledge and make sure I am trusting in God and not myself to get me through each and every day. That I am yoked to the one who says His burden is light (Matthew 11:30) rather than trying to stubbornly plow my own path.
This is not always an easy task. When the daily lists and activities of the day start to pile up my natural reaction is to push through not be still. To keep going rather than slow down.
What about you? Are you being still? Do you know that He is God? Are you trusting in Him to supply your every need? To get you through both the good and the bad times. Or do you also need a reminder, a small nudge as it would be, to get back to where you need to be?
Can you remember that earlier in Psalm 46 we were told that “God is our refuge and strength…(verse 1)” He is our safe place as well as our power. We don’t need to do this alone. And in fact, we can’t. What we can do is lean on Him in both the good and the bad times. The easy and the hard times, and weather the storm together.
And for me, that is the hope. The hope that in the chaos of life I have a refuge I can seek out. A familiar place to seek out. But I have to be still. When I am caught up in the daily grind, concerned with finishing up menial tasks and getting it all done. When I am lost is a maze of monotony and overwhelm I need to slow down and go against my instinct which tells me to hurry up. Slow down to the point of stopping and continue to slow down until I am completely still, and listening, and trusting, and knowing that God’s got this.
How do you “be still?” Comment below!