“This is the ‘work’ of stillness; we must put forth the effort to live in ways that counter the movement and activity of the world we live in.” Gary Taylor
How often is that the battle? Flesh versus Spirit, world-thinking versus Kingdom-thinking. It’s every minute, every day. The draw of future-anxieties, the weight of past mistakes, the present burden of insecurity, pride, materialism, busyness, performance.
I’m reading C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters, and one of the letters is about time.
He [God] would therefore have them continually concerned either with eternity (which means being concerned with Him) or with the Present — either meditating on their eternal union with, or separation from, Himself or else obeying the present voice of conscience, bearing the present cross, receiving the present grace, giving thanks for the present pleasure.
I think the work of stillness is also work of residing in the present. The world we live in will pressure us to plan and worry and fear the unknown, but the future is full of that which is not reality.
His [God’s] ideal is a man who, having worked all day for the good of posterity (if that is his vocation), washes his mind of the whole subject, commits the issue to Heaven, and returns at once to the patience or gratitude demanded by the moment that is passing over him.
Performance, future-worrying – resulting in frenzy, burn-out, insecurity. Stillness – making space for being. Being present – being present in Christ.
“Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him.” Psalm 62:1
The world says you are what you do, God’s Word says you are Whose you are. Our doing ultimately flows from our being, therefore I think the ‘work of stillness’ is also about prioritizing the being over the doing.
The world defines us in terms of production, whereas God defines us in terms of intimacy. Activity is not the same as intimacy: the work of stillness. I am convicted of this so often.
So I’ve been thinking: how can I make stillness a habit? I wanted something practical…
Look Up and Exhale — Step out into the sunshine, look up at the sky. Inhale and exhale deep. Think about the eternal and step outside of time to remember how He’s made you for eternity.
Look In and Surrender — See the hurry and weary and worry. Look in and let go. Surrender to Him. Cast your cares on the One who cares deeply for you.
Look Down and Thank — Bow in prayer, for a long moment. Pray thanks for His abiding presence. Pray praise to the One who is always with you, who lifts burdens from your shoulders. Feel His arms carrying you. Feel His heart that loves you.
How do you practice stillness?
Daisy @ Simplicity Relished says
This is so, so good. I am working on learning to enjoy silence and to be still before God, too. It’s a discipline! I think sometimes I’d rather feed my mind with words and images just to focus it; in order to come before the Lord and listen to Him and ponder Him is definitely a gift and a challenge. Thanks for writing this, friend!