Let's be honest. This being still stuff sounds easy. But it's not.
Our world is wired to be on the move. We've trained our brains to be multitaskers. Sitting still gets a bad couch-potato rap. Being quiet sounds mousy and submissive. No wonder making time for quiet reflection is a tough habit to build.
Let's re-frame this idea. If you, like me, sometimes suffer from the bias that stillness is a passive, unproductive practice, take that tainted notion right out of the junk-drawer in your head and chuck in in the dumpster of limited thinking.
Did you do it? I didn't hear the clanging ka-chunk.
There. That's better.
Instead let's think of stillness like the pause a leopard takes before she springs into the hunt. Like the brilliant mathematician's breath as the last pieces of the solution click into place. Like the moment of anticipation before the surprise party explodes into existence. Without the stillness, the conquest, the discovery, the celebration is at risk of never happening.
We need the stillness before God so he can do his deep soul-stirring in us.
Now perhaps this stillness is difficult for reasons beyond the psychological.
Perhaps you suffer from physical squirminess. Some of my greatest moments of spiritual stillness come when I am running. The exertion and endorphins crowd out the clutter in my brain. I can talk with God with greater freedom and focus. Give yourself permission to find a mental and soulful place of stillness while your body is in motion.
Does silence suffocate you? Some of us feel stifled without the stimulation of sound. Try some simple, melodic music as a soft background to your quiet time, something that will bring your thoughts back to God in an unobtrusive way.
Is your "To Do" list tugging at you? Take a simple chore and perform it in a meditative manner. Sometimes when I fold the laundry, I pray to God about those who wear the clothes. I lift up our relationships and ask God to help me see where the stains are, to help me see what needs mending and refreshing. Our physical tasks can be reminders of ways God wants to work in our lives.
When being still is hard, maybe you are trying too hard. Try a different perspective. Try a different approach. Try releasing the work from yourself and lifting it up to God.
All we are asked to do is make the space for God to speak. We do not have to do that perfectly or beautifully. We do not have to get it right. We just need to offer up the imperfect invitation for God to enter into our lives with his perfect Spirit.
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness." So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
2 Corinthians 12:9
Thank you for your grace. Thank you for looking upon my difficulties being still with your understanding and forgiveness. Thank you for taking my weakness and filling it with your power and your peace.
You know that I dearly want to be still and celebrate that you are my God. When my brain and body and heart make it hard to slow down, to steep in your love, show me your better way. Help me to make a sacred space for our relationship to grow, so that I may live as you intended, enjoying a life that is full and good.
Looking for more inspiration to get through the hard parts?
Diedra Riggs writes about how God showed her he can "transform the everyday into a sacred encounter."
Bonnie Gray, via Lysa TerKeurst's blog, writes "Why I'm Breaking Up with Quiet Time" and offers ways to reinvigorate the habit when being still starts to go sour.
What do you do when Being Still is hard? I'd love to hear your insights.