“Be still and know that I am God…”
I know this verse well. I even knew the reference without looking it up. But guess what? The application of this verse? I suck at it. Totally suck.
I can’t keep still. I have always been the type of person who runs a million miles an hour and never stops and then wonders a) why I’m so tired and b) why I can’t fall asleep at night.
My husband and I took a vacation this year to a beautiful, quiet, mountaintop cabin with the sole purpose of resting; i.e. doing nothing. No sight seeing, no driving all over to visit new places, nada. We promised each other that we would do this and not get swept away with the sparkly draw of souvenir shops and quaint mountain towns (this might be more my weakness than his).
We did it. With the exception of sneaking away for an hour of fishing (my hubby wanted to use the rod and reel he’d bought years ago) and a couple outings for necessities, we did it. We stayed perched in our mountain top view and rested.
It was REEEEALLY hard. Sitting still for four days nearly killed me. I got restless. I got bored and was desperate to get out and explore those mountain towns. But we pushed through and rested.
By the end of the week, I didn’t want to leave. I sadly bid goodbye to my window seat perch and days of journaling and coffee. I tearfully packed up the car, and reluctantly headed back into my hectic life. I was able to be still, but I had to be forced to do it. The end result was awesome.
I would love to have more stillness in my worship. But in most of my church worship experiences, there is none. It seems that every moment of quiet is filled. There is pre-sevice music. The service begins with a loud, energetic song that builds up in volume. Announcements are done by some energetic staff member or volunteer who barely leaves room for a breath. More loud music. Instrumental interludes are filled with some dramatic thought by the worship leader. Even the prayer time isn’t allowed any quiet. Out of nowhere, soft keyboard or strummed guitar comes through the speakers. Sermon time is (usually) good, but it doesn’t allow me time alone with my thoughts as I’m busy processing the lesson. Even communion time isn’t given the quiet it deserves. It seems most communion time is filled with singing or some sort of special music. Then as we leave, there is a reprise of one of the worship songs.
Not a single moment of stillness. Not a single moment of quiet in which to sit alone with my thoughts, process what’s going through my brain, and offer up what’s left to God. I walk out feeling no more refreshed then when I walked in. Often, more exhausted too.
If being still is a command of God, why isn’t the church making stillness more accessible to us? If people are anything like me, they need a little encouragement and prodding toward the quiet. Our lives have made it incredibly difficult to find it ourselves.
My cry and plea to the church is to stop doing and help us just be.