I need you to know something about me, and chances are, you will relate. While driving, I would rather go 10 minutes out of my way than to sit still in traffic. It just doesn’t seem right to be stuck on a piece of pavement that promises quick arrival and was intended for advancement. So, in an effort to feel like I’m making progress, I will take the first exit I see just so I can MOVE! I have taken detours that I later realized took me further away than I thought it would, but at least I was moving… I was going to find a way around that mess. But, in my experience, one of two things usually happens; my arrival is later than those who just stayed with it back on the “slow road” or, my efforts get derailed somehow and I end up right back on the road I was originally on, only to find that this time, I’m further behind than if I had just stayed the course to begin with. But rather than learning my lesson, I’m guilty of the whole “rinse and repeat” scenario, thinking that somehow, THIS time will be different. Isn’t that the definition of insanity???
As human beings, we are inclined to follow the path of least resistance. It just so happens that this seemingly easier path often takes us the long way around, leaving us with feelings of frustration and condemnation, especially when we see others beating us to the same destination we are trying to reach. So why do we do it? Why do we fall for the same trick every time?
I’ll tell you why; it’s because we’ve been conned into thinking that movement = achievement. We just want to be in motion. Because then, we can feel like we are helping the process along; that we are making things happen. But why do we have such a hard time with just being still? Why are we so compelled to always have noise around us, to always be in motion, to always be doing something? Why can’t we just sit in a waiting room and…wait? Why do we crave “white noise”? You know, the noise that we often need to drown out the deafening silence so we can go to sleep at night. For some people it’s the noise a fan makes, or maybe music. For others, TV noise in the background; white noise. But heaven forbid we should lay there quietly in the darkness, where not only our bodies, but also our minds have to be still… Having said that, please don’t think that I’m saying something is always wrong if we need some of those familiar sounds to drift off. I’m simply saying that some people are very uncomfortable with silence. Therefore, they look for distractions to drown it out… it’s just one more way to “keep moving”.
In thinking of all of this, I realized that the noise of movement silences the inner voice, but stillness amplifies it. We don’t want to have to hear that inner voice because sometimes it reminds us of everything we haven’t accomplished, our lack of achievement, past mistakes and how someone else is always doing just a little better than we are. So we set out to get up once again and move, because remember?…movement = achievement… so why haven’t we “achieved”?
There is a scripture in Exodus 14:14 I’m reminded of. In this scripture, Moses is talking to the Israelites before God parted the Red Sea for them. He told them, “The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.” (NIV version) They griped and complained, but by the time it was all over, they witnessed a great miracle, performed on their behalf that day as they walked across the Red Sea on dry ground as God held back the waters and delivered them from the 400 years of slavery they had been in. Even so, they ended up turning an 11 day journey into a 40 year camping trip…I mean come on! 11 days vs. 40 years…now that’s a detour.
We often get anxious about circumstances and situations that arise in our lives. Because we don’t know what to do, or because we think we have all of the answers, we often bypass the whole “being still” process. As we gripe and complain, we don’t think we have time to hear from God, so we rush off toward the next detour or exit that promises relief. Ironically, we find ourselves going the long way around our situation or we find that God brings us full circle, right back to where we started.
He says, “Be still and know that I am God.” We are to stand still and see the salvation only He can bring into our lives. When we choose His ways of stillness in the times we find ourselves just wanting to run, we will find that more is accomplished by Him in the quiet place than in all of our motions of movement. God will always do things in such a way that He will get the praise and the credit for it. He does it this way, so that when other people see Him at work in us and for us, it will give them hope that He can and will do the same for them.
I would like to hear how you struggle with being still. Please leave your comments below.