Thursday, 12 September 2013

Be still


Just stop. 

I see you. I know what you're doing. I'm here, right with you, as I always am, and this morning you've been going about things all wrong. 

No, don't start to object and explain yourself. I know. I see it all. 

There's a lot going on at the moment and you've let it swirl around you like a whirlpool, sucking you down until the water is lapping at your chin. You're restless, unable to settle, lots of things to do but incapable of concentrating. 

Listen to me. Let me catch your attention for a minute as you flick between screens, between books, between gadgets, between problems. Between the kettle and the biscuit tin. 

Stop, my little one. 

You tried to stop earlier. You knew from instinct and experience that you needed to stop, didn't you? 

You got out your journal and you read your devotional but you did it with one eye on the computer screen as you were carrying on an online conversation with a friend at the same time. I want your full attention.

You offloaded your problems to me in shorthand in your notebook but not until you'd offloaded them to several other people first. Did that help very much? It was clear to me that afterwards you still felt the same confusion, the same knotted up sensation in your stomach. You knew that you needed something else...

You dashed into my presence with an eye on the door and you didn't give me time to speak. You dumped your difficulties but you were in such a panicky rush, you spun around, gathered them up again and left. 

I had things to say, but you didn't stay to hear them.

So I'm interrupting. 

Stop. Stop the fingers on the keys, on the biscuits, worrying away trying to unpick the knots in your life. 

Be still. Breathe deeply. Stop holding your breath. Not that quick, shallow breathing that fuels anxiety, either, or the heavy sighs that you're so given to at times like this. 

Slow, gentle. Think about the air rushing into your lungs, filling the alveoli, being absorbed miraculously through the walls, swept along in your blood, pumped directly to the brain. Go with this for a minute; I know you love these little flights of imagination. Think of your poor harassed brain at last able to inhale deep draughts of oxygen. Those frantic, overworked little cells firing off in all directions at random, and then finally slowing and relaxing with the nourishment they need. 

Soon you'll be able to think clearly. 

I know you. I know how it works. You get overwhelmed. You don't know where to start and so you flail around, beginning a lot of things and finishing none of them, letting your mind flit around from one thing to another. You get discouraged when things don't immediately fall into place. You tire yourself out trying but you achieve nothing. 

Stop running to stand still. You often liken your days to those of a hamster on a wheel, but that's your choice. You can climb off any time you like. Stop running and stand still. I'm waiting for you.

You know when I said, 'Be still and know that I am God' in the psalm? Well, it was for such a time as this. 

Be still. Stop. Stop moving. Stop planning, worrying, dithering, probing the painful parts. Just stop. 

Relax your muscles. I know, that pain in your shoulder that you used to have years ago, it's back. Don't add it to the list of worries; it might just have something to do with the fact that your shoulders are high with tension. You've bitten your fingers until they're sore. You've finished a packet of biscuits this morning even though you've been telling yourself that you don't eat for comfort any more. 

Be still. Keep breathing. When your body is still, your mind will eventually still as well. I know it's alien to you - the world you live in is in constant motion. But I am asking you - no, telling you - you need to be still. 

Come back to me, not with a list of requests or anxieties, but just be. Be still, with me. 

I have things for you; things that you're familiar with, but you forget about. Over and over again you forget, and you're going to kick yourself, my little one, that you forgot again. 

When you make yourself still in my presence, you will start to see things differently. I want to change your perspective. Open your hands and drop all the stuff that you have in that white-knuckle death grip of yours. You're carrying so much round with you that it must be heavy. Let it all fall to the floor. The worry, the anxiety, fear, the decisions to be made, the jobs to be done. All those questions.

When your hands are empty, they are free to take what I'm giving you. Here it is:

'It's going to be alright.' 

I have peace for you, and confidence, and comfort. I know all the things that clamour for your attention and your time, but I want to remind you that the only important thing of all these things is that you spend time with me. 

I see what you're going through, and I want to help you. Stop rushing around as if you can get everything sorted out by sheer act of will. You can't. Things might be out of your control, but they're not out of mine. I will not let you down. We'll deal with all these things, you and me, when the time is right. Trust me.

But you have to stop and be still from time to time. 

You won't find peace doing what you're doing. None of those things on your 'To Do' list will bring you peace. Not answers to your many questions, not the knowledge of what's happening tomorrow, or next week or next year. Not success or achievements or people's respect and approval. 

Peace is from me. It's yours whenever you need a top-up. But you have to come and pick it up.

I am God. I AM, always. I always will be - the only unchanging, one hundred per cent reliable thing you can know. You're in safe hands. You know that. 

Be still, and you'll know - I am God. 


Is that better? 


  1. you have no idea how this spoke to me and BLESSED me today- I have shared to Facebook- as I know it a blessing meant to be shared with many- it's just so HARD to STOP, isn't it?
    God bless you abundantly as you bless your readers with your thoughtful posts.
    Love, Mary, New Zealand

    1. Mary, thank you so much for this. It's made my day to know that it meant something to you. Thanks for sharing it, and for taking the trouble to comment.

  2. Thank you Helen. This feel as though you were taking dictation from God for me. Hit a spot that needed touching today. God bless you!

  3. Amen and amen. Thanks for sharing this. Words my soul needed to hear. And thanks for bravely reading this aloud a the women's ministry prayer meeting. You bless us xx

    1. Thank you! For all your ongoing encouragement and reassurance. Couldn't manage without you.

  4. Helen, thanks for stopping by. This post says so much and I doubt that not one of us has felt this way. Praying that you have found the shalom that you need xxx


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