Be Still My Soul

One of the astute observations my counseling professor made about me was, “There is something moving in you that needs to stop.” I am feeling that very tangibly lately, and I think I am able to feel it now that my external life is finally slowing down. Perhaps it is like a program on your computer that is running and taking up memory and computer “focus” so that the programs you are trying to use are slowed down considerably. There is something in constant motion inside of me just like that unseen computer program which drains the whole system of the energy needed to run the desired programs. I might call it “anxiousness” as the closest description possible, but it isn’t directly related to a particular upcoming event or present circumstance. It feels more like habit. It seems to be this internal sense of hurry that oddly ends up slowing me down or paralyzing me altogether. The hurry stems from a fear of impending chaos if x, y and z don’t happen immediately. Sometimes, this is absolutely accurate – if I don’t leave right now, we’ll miss our flight and not get to our destination. But most of the things I respond to with that same level of panic just aren’t that consequential. That hurry in my chest, that sense that if “x” is not addressed or corrected or completed or avoided that our future well being is in peril, is both a product of fear and control. He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10 Stillness goes against all of my compulsions to be my own god and god of my world. Knowing that God is over the heavens and the earth, over the relational dynamics and political processes, over the financial structures and weather patterns, and over every aspect of redeeming and recreating all things is the only possible way I can be still. My inability to be still is not simply cute hyperactivity but something deeper and more toxic to the efficient running of my “system”. Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Psalm 37:7 I fret. I’m a good fretter. I’m not a verbal fretter so that people would identify me as one who frets, but that is exactly what that spinning ball of fire in my chest is fueled by doing. It takes many forms: limited time, growing to do lists, dreams, goals, desires, obstacles, opinions of others, fear of loss, grieving of loss, fear of failure and then the real life disappointments – How did the mean lady, the selfish neighbor, the naysayers, the antagonists end up getting their way and preventing me/us from doing this beautiful thing? Oh no! Fret, fret, fret. Worry, worry, worry. Hurry, hurry, hurry. In this state, do you notice who has been left on the throne of the universe and who is conspicuously missing? Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. Joel 2:13 In connection with the word “slow”, “to be angry” is the most connected phrase in the Old Testament. This would help my heart a great deal since all that hurry, worry and fretting inevitably leads to anger. God is slow to anger because He is anxious for nothing. He is anxious for nothing because He is in control of everything. This preserves His anger for the righteous responses to wickedness and not the vast array of personal violations which provoke my anger. God is God, so be still. God has it under control, so slow down little camper. God is at peace, so peace be with you. OK, so its that simple. Just be still, slow down and have peace. Check. Done. Internal ball of motion eradicated. Much to the disappointment of my hurried demand for instant sanctification, no, knowledge of my problem and awareness of the antidote are not the tools to heal myself. If that would work permanently, I would not need Jesus. Instead, He gives me Himself. He is the Prince of Peace. He stills the storm. He is my righteousness. He is making me holy, by His work, in His time…which is often quite slower than my schedule yet far more dependable. The fruit of that righteousness will be peace; its effect will be quietness and confidence forever. Is. 32:17 I’m grateful for this coming season of less external hurry. I am grateful that it exposes my internal hurry so I can realize my need for His work on that area where my faith has much growing to do. As I rest in His righteousness, peace grows in place of the anxious motion. This peace will result in quietness and increased confidence in the One who has not left His throne empty. Good news indeed.

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