Being Still - an Introduction

There are many books and articles about stress and how to reprioritise your life. This is not one of them – this one starts to address how we are to stop…full stop.

It is not to say that slowness is to be confused with ‘no-ness,’ that is doing nothing. We are often told to stop being busy, which is a negative command, whereas to be still is a positive attribute so that we can assess in order to move on.

The objective of this article is totally different in that we are called not just to juggle our priorities around so that we fit things into our schedule, but we are called to be still. Time is a precious commodity and you are spending some of it in reading this book.
It might seem like an oxymoron; but, in taking time to stand back, taking in God’s perspective, we can actually achieve more.

As I am writing these words, I realise that, as one finger is pointing out to you, there are three pointing back to me. I have been informed by my wife that, when I die, the words on my tombstone will be: ‘Must get on.’ I have this tendency to rush, even when I think I have my list of what is both important and urgent.

However, to my shame, I have overlooked the fact that my Redeemer God has wanted to spend time with me. The psalmist reminds us: ‘Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.’ (Psalm 34: 8) We can hardly taste the good things of God if we treat Him like we have bolted down our meal. We cannot say that we have taken refuge in Him if we are too busy undertaking all of the other tasks that we deem to be of a higher priority than Jesus.

We had a friend who would not drive on motorways, as he always drove on the lesser roads. It is a reminder that, sometimes, we need to drive on the motorways that are in our lives (deadlines do not meet themselves); but there are many other occasions when we need to take the slower roads, take the detours or even stop altogether.

The theme of this article can be seen in another psalm:

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, and the mountains quake with their surging.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.
 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice the earth melts.
The Lord Almighty is with us, the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Come and see the works of the Lord, the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the shields with fire.
Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.
The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Psalm 46: 1 – 11

It has been said that: ‘Busyness kills more Christians than bullets.’ Kevin de Young then proceeded to write: ‘How many sermons are stripped of their power by lavish dinner preparations and Premier League football? How many moments of pain are wasted because we never sat still enough to learn from them? How many times of private and family worship have been crowded out by sport and school projects? We need to guard our hearts. The seed of God’s Word won’t grow to fruitfulness without pruning for rest, quiet and calm.’[1]

It is so easy to miss out on God’s blessings because we are too much of rush to take in what we have been blessed with. It is like, at Christmas time, quickly stripping away the wrapping, being amazed by the present and then placing it to one side without taking another look at it.

A W Tozer has helpfully written: ‘When you kill time, remember that it has no resurrection.’[2]

The encouraging thing is that you are sitting down to read this article, which is the start of your journey of being still and knowing God – who He is and deepening our relationship with Him.

[1]Kevin De Young, Crazy Busy (Inter Varsity Press, Nottingham, 2013), p. 30