Do the words “Be still” bring you comfort or do they make you squirm because being still is the last thing you want to do in your ongoing efforts to control your world? I’ve always loved Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God” because I’m kind of a laid back person who needs regular quiet and solitude to function well. I haven’t always been good at being still on the inside though when storms of life are crashing on the outside.
Like a lot of people, I can have a hard time making my mind be still when I feel like I need to figure things out, fix something, or come to terms with something someone has said or done.
This photo is of a living room wall in the home where my sister and her husband lived before she passed away last month. When they were looking for a place to rent, finding these words on one of the walls of the house they were looking at confirmed for them that this was the right house, and she made it into a lovely and peaceful home.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the verse again recently and discovered that “still” comes from the Hebrew word raphah which means to let fall, drop, relax, let go. It seems to me that we don’t necessarily sit and do nothing (although sometimes that is advisable), but we learn to relax on the inside, to drop whatever it is we are trying to hang onto and control.
I am a big believer in taking full responsibility for our lives – no blaming, no excuses. There are times, however, when something is just too big for us, too overwhelming. It is at these times when we need to be still, cease striving, let go. It can be hard to do this though if we don’t do the second half of the verse – “know that I am God”.
Without a belief in a power bigger than us, a divine source of unconditional love who really knows and wants what is best for us, it is hard to be still. If we don’t worry, how will anything get done? If we don’t fix something, who will? If we don’t control people and circumstances, won’t they get out of hand? If we don’t get justice or revenge, aren’t we letting people off the hook?
Sometimes taking responsibility means getting control of our thoughts and making a conscious decision to surrender to something greater than ourselves, to trust that God in His infinite wisdom is able to be trusted with our pain, our confusion, our anxiety. It seems that as long as we are hanging on, clutching, carrying our “problems”, that they are just that: ours.
When we let go and maybe only when we let go, we are allowing God to work and arrange things in a wonderful way that we, not seeing the big picture, could never have imagined. This maybe gets a little easier with practice and life experience and watching things fall into place when there seemed to be no way that they would or could. The person who put the words “Be still and know that I am” on their wall probably had a good idea. We all need constant reminders that when things seem to be out of our control it’s a good idea to “let go and let God.”