A while back, I painted a canvas that says, “be still and know.” I actually saw this artwork at Hobby Lobby and decided to try to do it on my own. Of course, Hobby Lobby’s is much nicer! This phrase comes from Psalm 46 where God says: “Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.”
For the last several months, years actually, I have been working through my shame story (learning what shame is, identifying shame in my life, and battling shame to find freedom). I have been studying, praying, confessing, and lamenting. I have also opened up with friends to talk about sin and suffering, and they have helped me through it all. Throughout this long process, I began to experience freedom—freedom from shame. I’m very grateful for good resources available to help us grow in our faith. I hope you read and worked through our last three newsletters on shame, and I pray the newly revised Shame: Finding Freedom study can be a helpful tool as you work through your shame story.
I know shame is something that I will have to battle and deal with on this side of heaven, but for now, after working through this, I am going to sit and be still. I need to pause, breathe, and think of the things I have been learning. I need to focus on who God is and what he is doing. I invite you to do the same this month, to pause for a moment and take some time to be still.
The word “still” in Hebrew is rapa, (“to slacken, let down, or cease”). Sometimes this word can also mean: “to drop, be weak, or faint.” We often interpret the command to “be still” as “to be quiet in God’s presence.” While quietness is certainly helpful, the phrase means to stop frantic activity and to be still. I am not so good at being still—I like doing things, and I feel much more productive when I am on the move! But, I need to remind myself that there is a richness of soul that cannot be cultivated without regular seasons of quietness. I have to make space in my daily routine to stop for a few minutes from the everyday activities to be still and know God. To know that God is omniscient (all-knowing), omnipresent (present everywhere), omnipotent (all-powerful), holy, sovereign, faithful, infinite, and good. Acknowledging who God is implies that we can trust him and surrender to his plan because we understand his character.
During this month, let’s create a rhythm of learning to be still (not sit still, but be still), to enjoy his presence, and to acknowledge who God is and what he has done in our lives. Let’s carve out some time from our daily activities to be still, to read Scripture, to quiet our minds and hearts as we thank him for who he is, for everything he is doing, and for what he will continue to do.
For The Ezer Women’s Discipleship Team
This month, we are going to take time to read two Psalms. As you read, think about and write down what the passage says about God, what God has done, and how we can respond.
Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.
Listen to and meditate on the words of the hymn Be Still, My Soul.
This was written as a German hymn. It is believed the author was Katharina Amalia Dorothea von Schlegel (1697-1768). The English version that we have now is the fruit of the work of Jane Laurie Borthwick (1813-1897) who translated it in 1855. Then in 1927, the hymn text was paired with Jean Sebelius’ melody, Finlandia.
We encourage you to use these conversation starters as a means of self-reflection and for discussion within your community.
- What steps do you need to take to practice the discipline of “being still”? Are there any activities in your daily or weekly routine that need to cease or change in order for you to “be still”?
- What relationships (family, friends, co-workers) and areas of life (home, work, ministry, hobbies) are affected by the busyness of your life when you don’t incorporate times for “being still''?
Scripture warns us not to be just hearers of the Word but to be doers of it as well. All of life is repentance. What is a tangible next step God is calling you to take in response to all you’ve learned?
- Start a “Being Still” journal. As you take time to be still, write down the things God is teaching you, what you are learning, sins to confess, attributes of God, prayer requests, and leave a space for answered prayer. It's always amazing to look back and acknowledge answered prayer.
- Ask someone what it looks like for them to be still and to quiet their mind and heart. Find someone to be a “being still” friend! Keep each other accountable and help each other to develop a rhythm of being still.
- “Being still” can look different, depending on your season and individuality. It might look like sitting down in quietness, reading, going for a walk to talk with the Lord, journaling, writing a song, or going to bed earlier to have some time with the Lord. Try to find creative ways in which you can be still.
Book by Elizabeth Elliott
“In our can't-stop world, where we frantically move through our days with hardly a moment of true rest and reflection, it's hard to comprehend the thought of being still, of leaving our anxiety and worry and impatience in the capable hands of a loving God. But that's exactly what Elisabeth Elliot calls us to do.”
Article by Brett McCracken
“Foolishness is rampant today in part because we’re rarely stationary enough to experience stillness. And stillness is a prerequisite for wisdom.”