Be Still and know

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalm 46:10

Over the last several years I’ve had trouble feeling joy. You know that joy when you are just happy to be alive? The sun feels warmer, the sky is bluer, the bird’s song put a skip in your step kind of joy. So, one day not long ago I started seeking and praying to God for that opportunity to come my way. To make that path clear to me. I knew I needed to make changes in my life, but I wasn’t sure on which path to take. Then out of the blue I was struck with a physical ailment that left me, not overwhelmed, but at peace like I never knew. How could this be, how could this physical pain, that usually sends me into a panic attack for weeks on end, leave me with peace?  

As I struggled through months of physical therapy and the doctors telling me it was just inflammation. I kept going back to the uneasy feeling that I had been struggling with since the previous fall. How do I feel whole, and where is my joy? Something was not adding up with where I was at in my life. I had my hands in so many things, pulling me in so many directions. At one point in time, it was where I needed to be. Yet, right now I knew a change needed to be made. I needed to do something but didn’t know what. Then the same words kept coming to me over and over again, “BE STILL”. What? This cant be! I don’t know how to be still and keep my sanity, my health in check, and my family taken care of! Over the next few months, it came to me again and again, “BE STILL”. Okay, I am going to work on being still.

From there I started slowing down. I cut back on somethings, but found myself digging deeper into others. The peace still did not come. I kept praying, “Lord, please show me and guide me with what you want me to do.” I tried different things, more ministry work and helping others, while still praying and the peace still did not come. Several months had went by and I found myself back in the doctor’s office still in pain. The message was stamped on my body that said, “BE STILL”. Wear and tear and too much use of my dominant, right arm left me in a state of having to slow down. So, from there I still kept pushing forward in prayer asking God to show me what I needed to do. The words, “BE STILL” kept coming to me over and over. This time I started slowing down a little more. I pulled back completely out of many things and concentrated on just a few. I poured my heart and soul into the few things. The peace and joy were getting a little better, but it was still not whole.

With my pain in my shoulder still not getting better, I went back to the doctor again and found that my shoulder was more than just swollen from overuse, but torn this whole time and the only way to help was surgery. As I sat in my car with tears in my eyes, I pleaded with God and asked Him, “what now?” This time I heard, “BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM YOUR GOD”. Well, I had the be still part started in my mind, and my physical body now was on board without my consent. The next step was to Know that God was my God! How did I do that? So, I started praying again, “Lord, how do I take steps to know, that you are my God?” Over the next few weeks, it became very clear how to know he is God. I had to give it all up! Everything! My hobbies, my business, my work with friends, my church jobs, my worship time, my family time, social media, my food schedule, my sleep schedule, my paint parties, my entire days. From the time I wake up until the time I laid my head down, I had to stop and do nothing but call on his name for my every step. To let him guide my time, my thoughts, my every moment.

You may be asking how I did it, well Gods grace put me into a position where I didn’t have a choice. With surgery on my shoulder of my dominant hand, I could do nothing! Nothing! I sat, and sat, and sat. I had to give it all up and completely rest. What I found was exactly what I needed to be still and know who my God is and what he could do for me. I found rest and peace like no other. I had permission to lay everything down in my life and it was joyful. It took a pressure off of me to conform and be active to a place of rest and total reliance of letting God guide my day. I left it in His hands and He knew exactly what I needed, how much I could handle for the day, and who to bring into my life. I began to trust God in a way I had never trusted before. I no longer felt so much responsibility to work and do for God, but started realizing it was a partnership. It was about me working with Him and letting him be my guide, instead of the pressures of my flesh and the world around me driving me. Yes, I found some happiness with letting my flesh lead the way and making time for God; but when I laid it all down completely, and just stayed still until all the noise of the daily pressures fell away, I found the true meaning of “BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD”. I found I was overburdened with false responsibility; I was going down a path that no longer served what my spirit needed.

The pressure and judgement that drive us can be so consuming and block out the voice of God in our lives. Have you ever heard of fasting? Well, when I sit back and recall the last year that word came up so many times. I was so busy that I ignored it. I will do that later. I will use that as a last resort. In the end that is exactly what happened. I ended up fasting from all the activities in my life. Some temporary fasting and some permanent while I healed. The only time I have, is time to pray and seek Gods help and guidance. A break from all the noise. A time to quiet the chaos in my mind and pressures of life. Time to just rely and listen to God! That was exactly what I needed. With the noise gone a joy started filling my soul like never before. I can’t remember when I last felt this satisfaction, this peace. Today, I can see how the pressures of this world have driven my actions. It doesn’t mean that I am not still battling my fleshly desires to conform; but I am able to see it more clearly and intercede with a cry out to God. Daily surrender is starting to come more of a habit, and joy and peace or its companions. I don’t know what tomorrow holds or the next week. What I do know is if God is guiding me then it will all be okay!

Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: Joel 2:12

The difference between Gods voice and our inner voice to control

I struggle so much with the desire to have control. Those who live with the aftermath of trauma, I believe, have a deep desire to make sure everything is in its place and under complete control so no surprises will arise. I personally struggle in the midst of chaos to keep my emotions calm and my frustration from turning into anger and hard feelings. I want a fix and I want it now! I also have a deep desire to put things to right especially when I’m standing in a place I can see how to fix the problem(s). Or, so I think.

How do you know the difference between Gods voice leading you and your own personal inner voice pushing you to gain control? For me, it boils down to the need for instant resolve. That inner drive to fix thing here and now. When this inner desire flares within me, I can see it’s my own personal drive and struggle to fix things more so than the Holy Spirit guiding me in my path. The bible says

Straight is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Matthew 7:14

In all thy ways acknowledge him and He shall direct thy path. Proverbs 3:6

Wait on the lord and he will renew your strength. James 4:10

Be still and know that I am God, I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalm 46:10

Joyce Meyer puts it perfectly when she says, 
"Trusting in God means to get comfortable with not knowing."

The not knowing part is what drives me to gain some control. Not knowing is scary, and allows fear and worry to creep in. It is a big trigger for me and I struggle with constantly battling the anxiety that comes with the circumstance. My desire to escape the struggle of not knowing, the desires of the flesh to have peace at all cost can out way the logic in my mind to be still and know. The panic drowns out all common sense and puts me in a state of fear that drives me to act instantly and gain control quick in order to avoid fear, avoid painful emotions, avoid the thoughts of losing control. Fear of what can happen, fear of what lies ahead, fear of the struggle others may have to face. What I cannot see is the whole picture of God’s hands leading me on a path of not easiness, but a path that will grow me more spiritual, physically, emotionally, and socially.

So maybe, the path for me is to trust God more by not reacting and gaining control. But to sit back and trust Him while He takes care of things for me. Also, to remember, that others are on their own path in life and dealing with their own growth, and God is in control of that. Not me! So, where would God be leading me in my path? Maybe it’s to learn to be comfortable with not knowing? The ability to be at peace when my fleshly desire is to gain control. I guess practice does make perfect, so here I go!

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you first and foremost for all the blessing you have given me and all that you have done and continue to do for me. I pray that you forgive me of the sins I have done both known and unknown and wipe my slate clean. I ask for you help and strength Lord to not act quickly and with my emotions, but to slow down and look for your guidance on what to do. Help me Lord to trust you and the path you continue to design for my life and the life of others. Help me to have peace even when I cannot see what is ahead and trust you are in control and know what is best. I ask these things in Jesus name. Amen.