Be Still and Know

In him we live and move and have our being, (Acts 17:28 NIV).


(I posted this blog a few months ago, but wanted to post it again as you head into the crazy holiday season. Here we go!)

I pressed the send button on my latest manuscript, What God Really Thinks about Women. For twelve months I had spent night and day with Jesus and the women he encountered while he walked the earth. I was going to miss them. Miss walking in their sandals. Miss breathing their air. Miss crying their tears. Miss carrying their water jugs. And while I wasn’t going to be in their lives and in their business every day, their imagined faces were etched in my mind and they had become part of me for eternity. But it was time to move on.

I grabbed a cup of coffee, snuggled up in my favorite overstuffed den chair, and opened my Bible in my lap. “OK, God,” I began, “that project is finished and tied securely with a bow. So what do you want me to do now?”

I wondered if I should get into a Bible study group, take a class at the local seminary, or finally write those magazine articles I had been putting off. Should I start a small group, volunteer at a charity, or start a new book project? I asked the question and waited.

God surprised me. Acts 17:28 came to my mind. I believed He put it there. In him we live and move and have our beingLearn what that means, He seemed to say. Let’s just spend time together. No agenda.  No goal. No deadlines. I want to rekindle the romance. Will you let me?

His answer startled me. I hadn’t even realized the fire had died down. Wasn’t I working for Him? Wasn’t I doing God’s will? Wasn’t I busy about my Father’s business? And then I began to see what He meant. He began turning the lens of my mind’s camera and the fuzzy image grew clear. I wondered how I had missed it before. In the middle of all my busyness for God, I had neglected my relationship with God.

I was made for goals, or so I thought. Sitting still wasn’t in my nature, and perhaps that was what God was trying to tell me. My “nature” or natural bent of work was standing in the way of worship. My natural bent of activity for God was getting in the way of my communion with God. My daily routine of sanctioned quiet times was getting in the way of divine romance in which He wanted me to engage.

Like the men caught on the stormy Sea of Galilee, I felt I had been reeling in the waves for years – never in danger of truly sinking – just reeling from one rolling wave of work and deadlines to the next. But on this particular morning, I began to see the cast of characters in this Galilean scene in a different light. I was definitely in the scene, but I wasn’t in the boat at all. I was the storm.

I love how Eugene Peterson describes Jesus’ words to the wind and the waves as his friend stirred him from his sleep to calm the squall: [tweetherder][/tweetherder]“’Quiet!  Settle down!’” The wind ran out of breath; the sea became smooth as glass.”(Mark 5:39 The Message).

What does God really want from me? I’ve pondered that question since the day I first came to Christ. It was one of the two questions Saul asked when he met Jesus on the road to Damascus: “Who are you? What shall I do? (Acts 22:8,10).

I think I’ve made my relationship with Jesus far too difficult. I have spent so much time striving to get closer to the heart of God. And all the while God has been whispering to me, “Cease striving and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10 NASB). “It’s not that hard. Settle down. Be quiet.”

And that is what Jesus was telling me that frosty January morning. But I realized I didn’t really know how to be quiet and settle down. I had never mastered the idea of “be still and know.” I knew that God was God.  It was the “be still” part that stumped me every time.  Now don’t get me wrong. I can be still for a few minutes, maybe even an hour if need be. But much longer than that and I’m undone. Restless spirit syndrome begins to shake my soul, and the urge to get up and get moving wrestles me from worship.

So on this December morning, as I share this with you, I’m asking…will you be still and know that He is God with me? For a moment?

God had a lot to show me in the year that followed that frosty morning. I’ve shared a lot of what I learned as we’ve gone through the year together. As we head into the next few busy weeks of the holiday, I just wanted to remind you once again…be still.

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, Help me to learn what it means to live and move and have my being in You. Thank You for a New Year. I am excited to see what You have in store.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

What do You Think? 

How good are you at “be still and know that I am God?”

Have you ever felt God say those words to you?

Easy? Hard? What do you think stands in the way?

Leave a comment and tell me your favorite place to “be still.” I’d even love to see a picture!

Want More?
Is it hard for you to be still? When is the last time you practiced “cease striving?” Your faith journey is not about what God wants FROM you, but what God wants FOR you…the abundant life to the full!  And you can discover the key to experiencing that abundant life in A Sudden Glory: God’s Lavish Response to Your Ache for Something More. Check it out on my website. And while you’re there, sign up for my blog posts to be eligible for the many free give-aways I do every month.

22 Responses to Be Still and Know

  1. Chellee December 26, 2012 at 2:39 pm #

    Sharon, As I sit quietly at the dinner table this morning, sipping on a warm cup of my favorite blend of coffee with my favorite dreamer, I listen to the local Christian radio station turned down low and playing “The Great I Am”, I read your words reminding me to “Be still…Be quiet”. My children still in bed, my husband gone to work, it is quiet here. I Am listening and have been listening to the Lord’s still, small voice telling me exactly what you have voiced in the study today for months now!! WOW! This day after Christmas, which is the total opposite of what the last several weeks have been…all the hustle and bustle and lists of things to do, and places to get to, and people to help…I get reminded once again to Be still! You see, my husband and I have been having “problems” the last few years with our marriage. It has been really stressful this last year! And all Did tells me is “Be still and KNOW that I Am God”. Even amidst losing friend after friend…friends I think I HAVE to have, godly friends,

  2. Chellee December 26, 2012 at 2:43 pm #

    Sharon, As I sit quietly at the dinner table this morning, sipping on a warm cup of my favorite blend of coffee with my favorite dreamer, I listen to the local Christian radio station turned down low and playing “The Great I Am”, I read your words reminding me to “Be still…Be quiet”. My children still in bed, my husband gone to work, it is quiet here. I Am listening and have been listening to the Lord’s still, small voice telling me exactly what you have voiced in the study today for months now!! WOW! This day after Christmas, which is the total opposite of what the last several weeks have been…all the hustle and bustle and lists of things to do, and places to get to, and people to help…I get reminded once again to Be still! You see, my husband and I have been having “problems” the last few years with our marriage. It has been really stressful this last year! And all God tells me “Trust me, Chellee”…
    is “Be still and KNOW that I Am God”. Even amidst losing friend after friend…friends I ths I think I HAVE to have, godly friends,

  3. Chellee December 26, 2012 at 2:57 pm #

    (sorry…typing on my phone and it started acting funny so I sent what I had already..continued..) I understand God…the friends are being “needed out” Some hurtful “pruning” has to take place in my life to help me grow, but “God, why? Can’t I keep this friends? After all…we as women need our girlfriends!!” God wants me to resolve things with my husband…this I know. Believe me, I already looked into the divorce route and Did clearly said “No, Chellee..trust me.” So I am! I still don’t know for sure what’s going on, Sharon. As I read your devotion I can only say I Am reassured God is working in my marriage and I MUST BE STILL and let God work. It is against every fiber of my being!! I Am an action taker…a controller, a doer, a fixer, a “talk it out” kind of girl!! It is sooo hard for me to “be STILL”!! I Am not ADD or anything, but boy do I need to be be like a MArtha when instead I should be more like a Mary! Please pray for me and my marriage!! I want to take matters into my own hands EVERYDAY and God tells me not to. I want to keep obeying and stay still…but God your not fast enough…please do something NOW!! I Am listening! Today! I hope tomorrow and the next day will be the same…listening and allowing God to move in HIS WAY! Thank you for your words reminding me!!

  4. Darlene December 26, 2012 at 3:22 pm #

    Thank you so much for this devotional. I suffer from Clinical Depression Recurring and it is difficult for me to be still. I have been having a particular problem with it lately. After reading your devotional I realized that I need to ask God got to help with it and for Him to show me what I can do to be still and llisten for him. I also keep praying about help for my depression. I am a worrier. Thanks again. Any input you can give me if handling my depression would be most appreciated. Thank you.

    Darlene

  5. Jessica December 26, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

    Thank you so much for this Devo. I’ve been having a hard time for a while “being still”. I think I keep myself from being still, I get in the way. I really want to be close to God and learn to to be still and know him. I’ve done so in the past, but have drifted away. I get so busy with all “the things” I need to do and have drifted away from what’s most important. Thank you again for this, it was nice to find this in my email.

  6. kyra Meekins December 26, 2012 at 4:43 pm #

    You put into words the call to listen and be still so well. Blessings!

  7. Laurie December 26, 2012 at 5:33 pm #

    Hi Sharon, Merry Christmas and a “be still and know God” New Year!
    My fav place to do just that is at our cabin in the mountains in eastern Az! It’s in a small town on the edge of the national forest, complete w/babbling springs, in my own backyard! It’s quiet and beautiful, just the spot for appreciating our Lord! Will try to download a pic for you! Thx for GiG, a friend sez it’s been SO helpful!

  8. Kristi December 26, 2012 at 7:17 pm #

    Hi Sharon,
    THANK YOU for re-posting this about being still and to re-kindle the relationship. I am on a 2 month mission trip in San Antonio at the moment and to say the least busy is an understatment. I am a 42 year old full time volunteer missionary and I also make aprons and sell them online to support myself. I am going nonstop doing HIS work but have neglected that sweet precious time that I was spending with Jesus. So you hit the nail on the head with this one – I need to take the time to sit and be still.

    As far as my favorite place to sit and be still with Jesus is usually wherever I am laying my head. I am always somewhere that isn’t home. I have found there are places along the way that He whispers to me to come sit and spend time and then there are other times where my room(weather it is in my rv or in a mission house) is the only place where I find the quiet to be with Him.

    Thanks again for your words –

    Kristi
    Bond slave serving for HIS glory!

  9. Jeni December 27, 2012 at 2:17 am #

    Thank you for reposting this.
    For the last 5 years, the Lord has given me a theme for the year. I got the idea from Valorie Burton – that instead of a ‘New Years Resolution’, pray for a theme that will apply to every area of your life. It is usually December when I receive the theme for the New Year to come. This December, early this month, I received my new theme… “Silence; Be Still”. I pray that I ‘get’ what the Lord is wanting to teach me, I hope that I will let him reach me.
    Thank you for your post, it is very confirming.

  10. Volanda December 27, 2012 at 3:01 am #

    Your topic is my hardest task! However I believe if I could conquer this, it would send me closer to God….I am praying that the coming year brings me to the place I need to be…and if that means me sitting back and being quiet…

  11. Mariola December 27, 2012 at 6:45 am #

    Thank you Sharon! I have felt God’s guidance once again as I read your devotional. ‘Be still and know God’ it has been the tune of my life this past year. I’m always rushing around like a ‘headless chicken’ and find difficult to sit quietly and just contemplate. However, I do not give up because every single time I’ve tried my day, my life have been empowered. And when you are nothing can be the same. I soooo thank God for his amazing patience!!!
    So today, I look forward to make it my spiritual theme for 2013 – anyday, anytime, anywhere.
    God bless!!

  12. KIM PAGE December 27, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

    I struggle with this as most do. My favorite way to be still with him is to paint4god. I go off to my quiet place (my garage work bench) and begin to dance with the paintbrush on my canvas. Worship music blasting in the background I disappear into a place where God is @ the end of my brush…he’s my best dance partner. I actually painted this scripture with a man fishing. I hope the photo comes thru. God bless you Sharon. Thanks for your ministry. If my photo doesn’t go thru you can view it on paintforgod kim.

  13. Judy December 27, 2012 at 4:21 pm #

    Hi Sharon ,
    I was reading your post this morning, and it hit home. I have to be still and know Gods voice. My favorite place to sit and be quiet is the hay shed. Sounds funny, but while doing the horse chores, I talk to God a lot. And the hay shed is quiet, and all I hear is the horses eating. I have talked a lot of the things over with my Lord in that hay shed. I sometimes come out with tear stained cheeks, but feel much better.
    Judy

  14. Brenda December 27, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

    I’ve been through so much in the last two years. Been lied on cheated on lost my sister who was also my best friend lost my pastor and I could go on. I never knew the scripture even existed. Be still and know I’m God but God showed it yo me and I obeyed it. Last week my nephew was arrested on false charges my our new pastor of two years. My husband is a deacon I wanted to say a few thing’s to the pastor but I couldn’t because of pending court case. God has put scriptures in my heart to keep me. I’m so hurt would you ever believe your pastor would hold grudges lie and verbally abuse our members. My nephew is also a deacon and musican at our church until the pastor didn’t want him at our church because my nephew spoke the truth. Is this God’s way? No! How can you bring people to Christ with all the mess in our church. Pray for my family and our church. I’m still in my bed reading.

  15. Rose J Giammalvo December 27, 2012 at 7:18 pm #

    Sharon, my favorite place to be with God is alone in my bed room where there is the most peace and quiet. It is always there I can reflect and feel the closest to my Lord. Thank-you for posting this wonderful site. Rose

  16. Bev Cole December 27, 2012 at 10:14 pm #

    Thank you, Sharon! My best and favourite times are when I’m still and alone in God’s presence and I’d love to share these lyrics to a song I wrote. They were inspired by the very experience of ‘being still and knowing that He is God’.

    This hour, dear Lord , I’ll spend with you
    There’s nothing else I’d rather do.
    Here in Your heart is where I fit:
    A place so safe and intimate
    To which I come and where You bless
    And pour balm on my brokenness.
    Where I’m so free to be myself
    And share depths known to no-one else.

  17. John Larimer December 28, 2012 at 12:45 am #

    Hi Sharon, just a little something that kept coming back to me as I was reading through your devotional. Act.17:28, For in Him we live, and move, and have our being. It was as if He kept saying. Wil you allow me to live, and move, and have my being in you? It’s not only what He for us and from us, but what He want with us as we become one being, flowing together in unison. That may sound far fetched, but even momentarily is a wonder to behold, to feel the sealing of His Holy Spirit even if is just for a short time instills a yearning for more of Him.Ps.42:1. Sorry that started out as just a little something, but ended up to reach a crescendo. He dose that to me a lot, seem to get carried away. Sometimes I wonder If I should really share it or not,almost to private. God Bless you. Num.6:24-26 <3

  18. Karen December 28, 2012 at 1:19 am #

    Hi Sharon,
    This devotional came to my email and this week I was just too busy to read it! Then I came across the link online yet again and something told me I needed to take time. How appropriate! Thanks for the much needed reminder. Now I only hope I can make the time to love God, not just my routine of “quiet time at 5am” before rushing into the hustle and bustle of work, graduate courses, mom, and wife life… I am feeling worn out and depressed as the holidays wind down. I need a relationship with HIM, not just a routine.

  19. Lauren December 28, 2012 at 1:38 am #

    Oh, Sharon…this devotion is a balm I needed this evening. I blew up at my husband today and spewed all over him…before realizing that this same scene has played itself out over and over and over again in our lives because we’re just so different. I was demanding he do things MY way…instead of just understanding that HIS way still gets things done. I wanted to just melt into the floor as God started speaking to me. I felt like I was the satan to which my husband should have said, “Get thee behind me, satan”. Then a post I’d placed on Facebook today to encourage people to be more patient came across as a sermon that belittled people and a dear Christian friend chastised me thoroughly…standing up for all the other folks who have been through “so much”. I reminded him that in the last 5 years I’ve been through cancer, the death of both my parents (a year apart from each other), the loss of a brother (who had sexually molested me as a child and has now disappeared off the radar screen and wants nothing to do with me or my younger brother)…a single daughter’s pregnancy and birth to a special needs child (who I love dearly and has showed me how incredibly God can work all things to good in our lives)…to a son diagnosed with PTSD after a terrible time in Iraq…and a younger son who became addicted to gambling this past summer (but is now getting counseling and again I see God working) to a daughter-in-law with mental illness that has sometimes traumatized our family. Through ALL of this, I’ve tried to stay focused on God. I’ve continued to serve God…to give to others. My husband and I spent 10 weeks this past summer serving in South Africa (and believe God is calling us to full-time service there). How I would love to BE STILL. I got to know God so intimately this past summer while 8,000 miles away from all my earthly cares…but boy they came rushing right back in when we returned home. I’m so tired. Bone weary tired. While I’ve been giving and giving and giving I’ve not worked on my relationship with God since my return…and I feel empty. I know He hasn’t moved away. I just don’t know how to give in without looking weak and broken before him. Can a daughter of God be weak and broken after a 30-year relationship with Him? Thank you for the reminder. Maybe I need to just give in and let Him be strong in my weakness…because I really don’t have any strength left. Sorry for the pity party…but thank you for the much needed encouragement.

  20. barbbfly December 29, 2012 at 6:34 pm #

    i too have suffered with depression and great loses and its then that i’ve been desparate so i’ve heard Jesus and saw Him working or just plain ” U NDERSTANDING ME AND MY PROBLEMS LIKE NO ONE ELSE ” but now when i’m better and have more peace i can’t hear him and i have to have more faith i guess -but i do believe He’s there even if nothings happening and i can’t pray i still give Him a special time of waiting on Him.
    THX FOR THIS WONDERFUL SHARING SWEETY =HAPPY HEALTHY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE!!!

  21. Francis Ochola January 2, 2013 at 6:44 am #

    Sharon, thanks alot for reminding me to be still. Grappling with unemployment, a family to look after, rent to pay everymonth for sure its been disquieting but I thank God for ocassionally I go to the lake show just to have time with him and when I return home, my bedroom provides the place . Thanks alot and may you be blessed.

  22. Bonita January 16, 2013 at 8:01 pm #

    I am learning to be still and what I ask is Oh God what are you going to do, instead of the other way around. If I ask Him, then I turn it over to the rightful owner of the situation and I can be still and know…

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