“Be still and know that I am God…” Psalm 46:10a (NIV)
As often as money and time will allow, Melissa and I will head to the Great Smokey Mountains for a weekend get-a-way. We usually stay at our favorite resort in a cabin with a peaceful porch and relaxing hot tub. Recently, as we were on one of these get-a-ways, I was experiencing an especially stressful time at work. On the last morning of our trip, I immensely enjoyed one last quiet time on the porch before packing up the car. I was dreading going home after having such a peaceful time in the middle of the crazy stressfulness of our life right now. As I prayed, read, and listened to the symphony of God’s creation that morning, I learned three things I thought I’d share with you:
1. The Definition of Real Life: I reluctantly surrendered to the fact that it was our last morning and we were heading back to the “real world”, and just then a thought hit me…what if THIS were really how God intended for us to live? A slower pace; building real relationships with each other; taking time to pray and commune with the Father…daily! What if we’ve missed it in our endless pursuits of the things of this world? What if “going home” meant we were going to a place like this, instead of leaving it? I learned from this time that “real life” is now defined as living my life IN HIM. In the daily activities, I am to rest in the arms of God and realize that He is the hero of this Story, not me.
2. Sometimes, the Best Way to Follow God is to Be Still: The speed at which life seems to be moving these days is neck breaking. The world (and at times even the church) demands more of us and it all seems to be about efficient use of your time. I’m not against “making the most of every opportunity” and “redeeming the time”; but we must look at the time (or lack thereof) invested by most ministry leaders in prayer, simply thinking through the next steps for them, their family and the ministry they lead. With the increased usage of technology in ministry there have been some undeniable, positive benefits. I’ve also found there has been an extreme pressure on those leading ministry to suddenly possess yet another skill set, and be an all-knowing expert once again. On the peaceful porch of God, I learned that in order to truly follow Him we must “be still” long enough to hear His still small voice.
3. There is a rhythm to life: Listening to the sounds of nature while sitting on my porch that morning, I witnessed God ushering in the new life of spring. It reminded me that there is a definite rhythm to life…not only the trees and animals, but our life too. We have seasons of new life and celebration; we also have seasons of winter and despair. As I was entertained by God’s wonderful creation I was encouraged of the fact that spring is coming. To every thing there is a season. We need time to rest and refresh as busy ministry leaders. We cannot neglect those periods of time that are set-aside for us to rest. Many of us are too controlling of ministries and will not take needed and overdue breaks. In The Message, Peterson translates Matthew 11:28-30 wonderfully and speaks of the “unforced rhythms of grace.” A great lesson for those of us who are busy “saving the world”.
What things have you learned during your quiet moments lately? If you haven’t had a quiet moment lately, please take time to sit on God’s Peaceful Porch for a while and simply, “Be Still and Know”. Please leave a comment below.