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“I cannot be the man I should be without times of quietness. Stillness is an essential part of growing deeper.”

Charles R. Swindoll

My family and I went on a short-term mission trip to Kenya, the summer of 1992. While there we learned a phrase in Swahili: “Haraka Haraka Haina Baraka.” This proverb’s translation is: “Hurry, hurry, has no blessings.” I have found this to be true when I rush around or fill up my calendar with a jam-packed schedule.

Living under a performance mindset and believing, “If it’s not productive, it’s a waste of time,” led to difficulty in sitting still. I felt guilty when I relaxed or read fictional novels. Even quieting my heart to hear God’s voice was hard because my mind constantly wandered to my to do list. Gradually God transformed my mind and heart to embrace the truth about the importance of being still and its therapeutic effects.

Scriptures affirm our need for stillness. Isaiah 30:15 says, “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.” “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.’ (Psalm 37:7) The psalmist in Psalm 46:10a exhorts us to, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Ah, that’s where our real strength lies, not in racing from one commitment to another. We are empowered when we quiet ourselves and rest in the everlasting arms of God.

A few months ago during a crazy busy time of life, the Lord spoke these words to me. Be still, my Norma. For it’s stillness that refreshes you. It’s stillness which brings peace to your heart. It’s stillness which causes you to draw near to Me. And it’s stillness which fills you up and replenishes your reservoir. Take time throughout the day to stop striving, to cease from worrying and to remember who I am. For it’s in the remembering that worries flee away, peace returns, and faith arises.

When we’re quiet before the Lord and remember who He is, recounting His attributes, then worry takes flight, paving the way for our confidence to be placed in God. I wonder what would happen if when I am buried under an avalanche of anxiety, I choose to be still and contemplate God’s character traits. What if when I’m suffocating under the weight of responsibility, I set my phone alarm for each hour, alerting me to stop what I’m doing and turn my thoughts toward God and His ability. I have a hunch peace would replace worry and strength be exchanged for weakness.

Martin Luther once said, “Keep still, and He will mold thee to the right shape.” My prayer for you and for me is that as we choose stillness and remember who God is, He will form us into the men and women He created us to be.

“O God, make us children of quietness, and heirs of peace.”

St. Clement I of Rome

Relevant Reflections:

1. Would people describe your life as always in a hurry?

2. If you struggle with anxiety or worry, choose stillness and reflect on who God is.

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