Why do we resist stillness with God? A question we talked about at the “Be Still” conference last weekend. A question I wrote for the small group discussions. A question I thought I’d addressed in my own life as I’ve focused on incorporating stillness and prayer into the rhythm of my life. Yet, just days after returning from a weekend focused on finding stillness with God, I found myself reluctant to enter into the stillness I’ve come to love and crave.
What are your reasons for not carving out time to be still with God?
“I’m too busy.”
This used to be my go-to excuse, but I found I got too run down and worn thin if I didn’t take the time for stillness. I had plenty of time this week, yet still couldn’t bring myself to enter that sacred space.
“I don’t know how to be still. It’s hard to be quiet for very long.”
The first time I tried to sit in silence for 15 minutes, the only thing I wrote in my journal was, “wow, that was hard!” It can be hard to be still and takes some practice to find the right methods that work for you. I’ve discovered favorite ways to be still with God, yet something was holding me back from even these.
So, neither of these top reasons were my excuse this week. Instead, it was…
“I’m not ready to open my heart and listen.”
Oooh… I wasn’t expecting this one. I finally realized my excuse this week was I had some tough questions weighing on my heart and I wasn’t ready to hear His answers.
Spending time in stillness with God is intimate and vulnerable. Stillness is lowering your walls and letting God into the deep reaches of your soul. He’s already there, you know, but in the stillness you acknowledge and welcome His presence.
So, I finally took time to be still with God. I was beyond the point of needing this, beyond needing a refilling of His grace and love, His energy. I chose one of my favorite methods of spending time with God – a long, hot bath. In the dark, candlelit room, floating in the tub, I’m usually able to relax into His arms and still myself to listen.
As I listened to my Pandora “Praise and Worship” radio, “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol came on. An unexpected song choice for this station, but it spoke to me in a surprising way.
[callout]If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?[/callout]
God, if I just lay here in this tub, will you lie with me and help me forget the world and just focus on you?
[callout]I don’t quite know
How to say
How I feel[/callout]
So much on my heart, so many questions and raw emotions. I’m not sure how to say what I feel, but I know You already know my heart. Still, I’ll pour out my heart to You tonight.
[callout]Those three words
Are said too much
They’re not enough[/callout]
I love You, God. Thank You…
[callout]Before we get too old
Show me a garden that’s bursting into life[/callout]
I’m trusting You to lead me into Your green pastures, Your future that’s bursting into life.
[callout]I need your grace
To remind me
To find my own[/callout]
I’m sorry for resisting this time with You. Allow me to accept Your grace.
[callout]All that I am
All that I ever was
Is here in your perfect eyes, they’re all I can see[/callout]
Your perfect eyes see all that I am, all that I ever was and all I will ever become.
I began to relax into the song and just “be” with God. Graciously, He didn’t send any visions, any great words of direction, any prompts of next steps. He knew I wasn’t ready to hear my questions answered. Tonight it was enough that I finally poured my heart and my questions out to Him. I felt His presence lying with me, just “being.”
Stillness isn’t about answers or great God moments, but rather spending time “being” with God.
In the stillness, God wants us to share our hearts with Him and allow Him to fill us up with His love and grace. He already knows your concerns, your questions, what’s weighing on your heart. He simply wants you to bring it to Him.
We all have these excuses for resisting stillness with God – even when we intentionally focus on stillness and prayer. So, what’s holding you back? Will you take a chance and try some time of stillness with God this week?
If you’d like to know more about finding stillness with God and going deeper with prayer, take a look at my “Pray Deep” series on prayer. It’s focused on answering the big questions around prayer and introduces over 20 different methods to pray and spend time with God. I’ve also written a 21-day devotional prayer guide that takes you through this study on prayer. Or, if you need to dig deeper into this topic of stillness and how to lean into God’s strength and trust Him to lead you through life’s storms, I encourage you to take up 21 days of prayer using “Pray Deep: Finding Stillness in the Storm.” This devotional will go deep into Psalm 46:10 and related verses where God reminds us to “be still” and trust Him.