Monday, January 3, 2011

Being Still vs. Doing Nothing & Soli Deo Gloria Link-up

Welcome, Soli Deo Gloria Sisters!  I'm so glad to see your faces and meet some new ones as well.  This is a place of encouragement and blessing, and it is my prayer that you always feel welcome here.  If you are new, please read here for the heart behind this meme and some general guidelines.  I hope you are blessed on your page and leave blessings for others, as well.
January Wallpaper by Critty Joy, available for download here.


Being still and doing nothing are two very different things.  Jackie Chan, The Karate Kid


Never did I think that I'd be struck by a quote by Jackie Chan, but there you go -- proof that God can use anything to get my attention.

I have been ruminating on what it really means to be still.  And, then, what does it mean to be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46: 10)? And how is this somehow more refreshing, more filling than just doing nothing?  Or, maybe it's not about one being better than the other?  Perhaps there is a time for both.  Maybe I need to do nothing (or at least slow way down) in order to even have a hope of gaining a sense of stillness?

And why am I struggling with this so much?  Why am I seeking to find the difference between the two? Honestly, I think it is because I am having a hard time with the concept of rest and feeling rested after I have attempted to recharge, refill, and rejuvenate.

I have to admit, I'm not very good at doing nothing, and after I have done nothing, I usually feel sluggish, even more unmotivated, and hesitant to jump back into life.  I just crave more "nothingness."  I don't know if this means I am doing nothing the wrong way (crazy question, I know) or if I just hesitate to jump back into a world where there is always something that needs to be done, where there is little time to frolic, where the next down-time is so far off it's hard to imagine if it will ever come in the near future.  So, basically, I leave rest time anxious for the next rest time.  I don't think this is what it's supposed to be about.  I've come to the conclusion that perhaps doing nothing tries to solve the problem of tiredness, but neglects to address the need to be refilled.

Maybe doing nothing is the first part  -- to get my body and mind ready for what my heart and my soul need -- stillness.  When I am still, I can hear God's voice.  When I am still, I can know, thoroughly and completely that He is God.  When I am still, I can cast my anxiety and cares on Him and He will receive them, lift them from my shoulders.  When I am still, when my soul is quiet, when my heart is open, I can find refreshment.  It's leaving the world behind for a few moments and allowing myself to just sit at the foot of the throne.  And, you know, He might not even say one word, but His presence alone, everything He stands for, longs to fill me with Him.  And that, sometimes, is enough.  It's just what I need.

I know that often, Psalm 23 is read at funerals, but I find it ever so appropriate for those of us who live our days on this earth, for although we can look forward to eternal rest with God after our time on earth is through, we sure need rest to make this journey here count for all it's worth.


Psalm 23

A psalm of David.

 1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 
 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, 
he leads me beside quiet waters, 
 3 he refreshes my soul. 
He guides me along the right paths 
   for his name’s sake. 

4 Even though I walk 

   through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil, 
   for you are with me; 
your rod and your staff, 
   they comfort me.

 5 You prepare a table before me 
   in the presence of my enemies. 
You anoint my head with oil; 
   my cup overflows. 

6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me 

   all the days of my life, 
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD 
   forever.

17 comments :

  1. i sometimes feel guilty for being still. like i'm a bad mom or housekeeper or wife or teacher. thanks for the post. the thoughts.

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  2. I definitely learned last year how important being still was. Especially with silence. To soak in the quiet...and to be able to sit and wait expectantly before Him. Beautiful post my friend. <3

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  3. I too have struggled with being still but as I've gotten "older and wiser" I've learned how and it's a "blessed time." I'm sure I still am not still enough but I've certainly come a long way.

    Blessings to you as you seek to "be still and know."

    Blessings galore!

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  4. Hey Jen, I was trying to think of words to say in response to this post. But none came other than, beautiful. You have such an amazingly beautiful heart for your Savior. Absolutely Beautiful.

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  5. I battle with so much of the same, Jen -- I really do. In fact, I am writing about something similar -- the concept of slow -- tomorrow. I wil link up!

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  6. I love this Psalm...to have communion with the Lord in the midst of our enemies...I see Him not just as a shepherd here, but as a husband. Thanks for sharing Jen. Enjoying the stillness, Melissa

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  7. You've captured so many of my own thoughts. I just read a great summary of this verse and of course I've forgotten where. If I find it, I will send your way, it was good.

    I struggle with this, too. I think for me I need to truly observe the Sabbath one day with my family and take special time outs just for me and the Lord each day and I'll be good. I have two speeds; mach 10 and 0. When in 0 mode, my son goes to bed in his Lightening McQueen swim trunks because someone forgot to do the wash. Not naming names. :)

    Psalm 23 is one of my favorites. So peaceful and safe.

    Do you and your family set aside a day of rest?

    Wishing you a blessed day, friend.

    Erin

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  8. I'm a Martha and find it hard to sit and be still and listen. I'm trying. I'm a work in process. But I know that when I do that the peace I feel is overwhelming.

    I love Psalm 23. This verse is part of my daily prayer time. We can't get to the banquet without the walk.

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  9. I struggle with being still. My husband has had a recent job change due to economy, and we are worried they will eventually lay him off very soon. I am getting up when he does as his shift starts at 5:30 now. That allows for some quiet time before I have to get kids up and ready for school. I'm really struggling with just sitting and absorbing what God is saying to me in my quiet time. I'm working on it.

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  10. Sometimes Jen, I think you are reading my mind. With my last post I talked a little bit about 'being still and know that I am God'! But, like you, I struggle at times thinking...I NEED TO MOVE for Him! I think it's about where our busyness is gauged and learning to be quiet and still long enough to listen. I am with you on this subject!

    (Oh, and by the way, I might take you up on your Ipod offer, that is soooo sweet. My sis calls me after seeing your comment and said, "wow, what a friend you have!" I said with confidence, "Yes.I.Do!" ha!)

    Have a good week Jen! Marlece

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  11. I like this. I need to chew on it, but it's good. These are principles I need to be more intentional with in my day to day living.

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  12. It is so hard for me to do either. Being still and doing nothing just aren't in my personality. I worry though because sometimes I am so busy doing, doing, doing that I know I miss out on just resting in where I am.

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  13. I think of "still" as more of being "content". I listened to a podcast not to long back while I was exercising that talked about being still...I - like you - am just a kinda wired type A and I never "got" that concept ( of being still ). It made TOTAL sense to me after listening ...ok not TOTAL but it HELPED lots:)
    Here is the link
    http://thegodjourney.com/2010/10/22/weve-got-to-do-something/
    and I'm not sure if this is the one but all of these two guys podcast NEVER cease to open my heart to understand God..and I can do it while running or walking...not sure that is being still...maybe killing two birds with one stone??:)

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  14. I tracked with all of this...our leaders in Hungary talked to us so much about 'true rest' and I find myself seeking 'escape' more than rest and end up in a viscous cycle...your thoughts blessed me and I fight with you for this...it is a subtle and yet fierce battle--a core battle--living in our culture...thanks!

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  15. Great post, very convicting to me personally. Although the house may be quiet during nap time the internalized me isn't being quiet and resting in God. Thanks for the encouragment..

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  16. So thankful you are looking at slowing down and rest - both integral to our spiritual growth. Good for you for embracing that.

    Songs help me - I often start with one song (Did Kari Jobe's "The More I Seek You" this morning - always works...) then I spend some time in quiet because the music gives me a chance to unwind and clear out some cobwebs before I begin to pray and commune further with Him.

    It will come.

    Natalie at Mommy on Fire
    http://www.mommyonfire.com

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