As a toddler, my son Garrett was so busy going from activity to activity that I could barely get him to sit still to eat. Of course, he could always find time for a bowl of ice cream or a stack of chocolate chip cookies but not the stuff that was good for him. Garrett was only still, if he was asleep or locked in his car seat. Since sleeping is a poor time for eating, I began to pick him up from preschool with a piece of fruit in the car. Safely strapped down in his car seat, Garrett would wolf down the fruit like he hadn’t eaten in a week. It was something to see Garrett remembered how much he loved a good piece of fruit. But first, he had to be still.
I’m afraid my practice of stillness often resembles a preschooler’s. As much as I want to sit still to receive the good things in life, I find it is much easier to be still for things that do not fill me. I can sit still in endless meetings or in front of a mindless TV show. If I’m brooding over my hurt feelings or working myself up for a good worry fit, I can appear almost catatonic. Like my preschooler, I’ll find the time to sit still for the things that do not nurture me.
In Psalm 46:10, God tells us to “Be still and know that I am God.” Does that mean God wants you to sit still more? No, for God, stillness isn’t about not moving. It’s about not doing. Stillness is found when you stop doing things with your hands, stop doing things with your feet and most importantly, stop doing things with your mind that distracts you from God. Let’s face it: not doing is not easy but the gift you find in the stillness will be so worth it. The psalmist said that the payoff for being still is knowing God. But what is it you will come to know about God? When you stop and focus just on God, you will know how lovingly He is focused on you.
In the stillness, you will know that God cherishes and adores you beyond reason. You’ll know that regardless of what is lying at your feet, Jesus will carry you through it. And above all you will know that God treasures you so much He can never leave you nor forsake you. Those sweet reassurances are the gifts you will find in the stillness with God.
God wants to give you these gifts but you have to be still long enough to receive them. If only God had a giant car seat to lock you in so you’d be still to taste the sweet reassurances He longs to give you. But God’s not in the business of strapping in His children for them to receive His gifts.
Pray that God will give you a hunger for stillness so you will come to know not just in your head, but fully in your heart, how adored, cherished and treasured you are in the eyes of God.