Be Still and Know
“Be still, and know that I am God,” Psalm 46:10 tells us. I’ve been reflecting on that, because it’s so easy to *be still* here in a place like this, where I’ve purposefully chosen to get away from everything for a while and just relax. I’m usually so busy that I literally have to schedule these breaks on my calendar—and on everyone else’s calendars—so that I could have time away to be still. The question is how can I be still in Madrid? How do I achieve stillness in His presence while maintaining office hours and ministry schedules? I’m a driven person by nature, so I’ve had to learn how to balance the pouring-out-part of ministry and the being-still-part of abiding with God.
I’ve found four ways to keep still, no matter how hectic life gets.
One - I’m still before God every morning. I mean, if I’m totally honest, I’m not good for much else in the morning anyway, so with a cup of coffee and my Bible in my comfy chair, I’m definitely pretty still. I take that time to read God’s Word first thing, in the peace and quiet of my early day. Later in the day, I take time to journal about what I read and how I feel about it. That way I get to be still twice to hear from the Lord and reflect on His Word. And thankfully, this works on about 90% of my days.
Two - I’m still before God on Mondays, my day off. As a minister, Sunday isn’t restful AT. ALL. In fact, it’s the hardest day of the week in every respect: the hours are longer, the energy level is higher, and the day is consumed with details. Mondays are my Sabbath, and I take that as seriously as I take every other commandment. On my days off, I practice stillness, quietness, and peace.
Three - I practice stillness when I walk for miles around Madrid. Of course, I’m not physically still at that point. I’m in constant motion, but my heart is still. I put my worship playlists on my headphones, and I pray. I pray for wisdom to handle my own life concerns, and often, I pray for others. Walking 45 minutes home on the quiet streets of Madrid several nights a week, when I’m done ministry in the city center, keeps my heart still and seeking Him.
Four - I occasionally take time away. Call it a “prayer retreat;” call it a “little break.” Call it a “vacation” if you must, although I don’t use that term for this type of trip. I simply choose to escape the marketplace and find peace with God alone in a quiet, off-season little town. If that town has some sort of water nearby, that’s even better, because God uses nature to communicate His love for us. For me personally, I just always feel closer to God when I’m staring out at water. I actually feel more in tune with myself, even.
No matter how often I take the time to be still before the Lord, or how wide a space I can create for that peaceful part of my day, I will always need more. I need His presence more all the time, to be an agent of His peace, His grace, His healing--I will always need to know that He is God. And I do that best by being still.