Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Gift of Stillness

        It’s late.  Nothing is moving about in the house, except for my fingers upon the keyboard.  All work has shut down, bringing our house to a time of rest.   Noise of the busy household is silenced, shutting out distractions.  The senses are sharper at this time of night, allowing me to hear the softer noises of my home.  There’s something about the stillness of the night that invites me.


     It takes me back a few years.  The words were becoming so repetitive I knew He was trying to tell me something.  He kept saying to me, “Be still, my love and know I am God.”   I’d known this scripture for as long as I could remember, yet there was something about the way it kept coming to me that alerted me to His invitation.


      Truthfully, it wasn’t one of my favorite verses.  In fact it frightened me.  What was stillness any ways?  I had never been still a day in my life.  I was accustomed to putting forth my efforts for Him.  It made me feel good.  Wasn’t it what good Christians did.  Wasn't I supposed to be busy for Him?


      What did it mean to be still?  How do I get there?    Having been one who loved having an agenda I waited to get "the plan" so I could get busy.    Nothing came.


     I couldn’t reason my way in.  I couldn’t figure it out and quite frankly the more I tried the more I fell away weary and frustrated.   If I was going to find this place of stillness God would have to take me in.   Finally, exasperated, I gave up. 


      It’s quite the paradox.  As I gave up God began to move.  He swept me up into His arms and invited me into my rest.  


      I began to discover His life in me.   He began to show me the things that mattered to Him.  He removed my efforts and told me about His.  Distractions began to be removed revealing that still small voice.


      In I Kings 19: God told Elijah that His presence was going to pass by Him.  A great wind came and tore the mountain apart but the Lord was not in the wind.  After the wind there was an earthquake but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake came a fire but the Lord was not in the fire.  And after the fire came a gentle whisper. The voice of the Lord was in the whisper.  In the whisper He told Elijah what was next on his journey. 

     

     The stillness takes away the elements of life and reveals the whispers.  It becomes a place where I have no life of my own, my life becomes His.  I can't figure it all out.  Enter twined as one, He begins to live through me.


       He tells me what’s next on my journey.  He makes known the plans.  He even shows me the path and tells me whether I am to turn to the right or left.  He invites me to step out and follow where He wants my feet to be planted.  He is the cloud in the day, the fire in the night that leads me where He wants me to go.  I don’t have to figure it out.  He will reveal.  I can rest.


      Everything is initiated by God.  Everything.  It’s all so remarkable.


      This place of being still has become the most tender of places.  It’s the place where I am free to wait and be.  Even my tears become precious to Him, for they are the words of my heart.  All those years I had tried to form the right words to get Him to move on my behalf.  When there are no words, it’s enough.  He reads my tears and comes for me just because I need.


      I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I said yes to stillness.  I will never be the same.  The ceasing of my striving has brought the gift of knowing God.  As I rest from my efforts, life becomes about Him.   In stillness I come to know Him, for it is there that God becomes God in me.


     Late at night everything in the house shuts down... all work ceases, everyone and everything comes to a place of rest.  It’s so easy for me to see it now.  Being still is an invitation to enter into my rest.


     For anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.   Hebrews 4:10

©copyrighted:  2009  Julie L. Todd

12 comments:

Gretchen said... Reply to comment

The most tender of places, indeed...and one I often hesitate most to visit. Thank you for this, Julie. Thinking of you so much. xxxooo

Carmen Gamble said... Reply to comment

That was so well put, Julie. I wonder why it's so hard for us to just rest in Him. In a society where people are so busy, we need that rest more than ever. We so love "doing," but the greatest treasure is found in just "being" with Him.

Lana Vaughan, Reality Developer said... Reply to comment

I have this verse stenciled on the window of my office. It's between me and the apple tree out side the window. One of, if not, the hardest things for women to do is trust and rest. I think they come in that order. You have offered a beautiful glimpse of your trust and faith in God. Thank you for offering your beauty.

Princess Trina said... Reply to comment

Beautifully put, Julie. It is 'there' that we find Him, know Him.....Christ in us...our hope of glory!

Daughter of the King said... Reply to comment

Beautiful, Julie.
Being still and silent is precious, indeed.

Thank you for this post. It reminds me that I haven't done this for a long time.

:)

Jensmere said... Reply to comment

This was so beautiful, Julie! I love the scripture reference about hearing God in the whisper!

Bless you,
Susan

Amy said... Reply to comment

Julie,

You did a beautiful job describing the place of "Stillness." There is NOTHING like it, is there?

Every time I am still with the Lord He floods my heart with everything I need to sustain me on my journey. Being still with Him is truly where TRUE LIFE begins.

My heart longs for the ones that don't know Christ to find "The Gift of Stillness."

Keep writing and sharing the "Gifts" you have found in Christ with the world!

Love you!
Amy

ktwalden said... Reply to comment

Wonderfully written...in the stillness where we can rest, reflect, and renew our spirits...

I love what you wrote - "Even my tears become precious to Him, for they are the words of my heart."I have been there, my sister, many times...God is so good!

Crown of Beauty said... Reply to comment

I love the idea of being still... you really described this place beautifully. A gentle whisper, a gentle breeze... a gentle touch... there is a stillness that brings forth life! Thank you for this.

LisaShaw said... Reply to comment

Precious Julie, your message is soothing! Having just returned from having over a week of REST in the LORD I can TOTALLY relate to what you've shared.

That stillness is so necessary to hear GOD and it is indeed a GIFT.

Love you.

Baba said... Reply to comment

What a beautiful post! So very nice to meet you and your family. Party hopping and participating too so stop in for a visit.

Tea With Tiffany said... Reply to comment

Stillness, a place where He speaks loudest!

Thank you as always for leading us back to HIM.

You are a real gem. I see His reflection in your words.

Shine on, sister,

Tiffany