There is Power in Stillness
There is an undeniable golden thread that brings together God’s desire for His people to rest. His desire for people to rest starts at the very beginning of the Bible and still remains true today. Rest ironically, is an act of faith; it is faith in action. God rested on the seventh day after He had finished His unparalleled work of creation. Let us follow the thread then, as to how frequently God gave His people instruction to rest on the seventh day.
THE ROOTS REVEAL THE TRUTH
Going all the way back to the beginning which is what Genesis means, we read that on the seventh day God finished His work of creation and then He rested. In this current time on the earth, it is interesting to note how the Covid-19 global lockdown very much resembles how God led Moses and His people out of the place of lockdown and slavery. He led them to a new way of living and expectancy by opening their hearts, eyes, ears and minds to a mighty awakening God’s reality.
Remember for 400 years they had only been familiar with the gods of Egypt. They were entrapped with a mindset of slavery, they were beset by hopelessness and they probably lost faith that a deliverer would ever appear. At the perfect time, God presented Himself through Moses who had been specifically trained and raised for such a time for the deliverance of an entire nation.
Here’s the stunning realization though. When God delivered this rag tag group of people from the grip and enslavement by Pharaoh, He powerfully parted the Red Sea so that they could cross over on dry land. He fed them and quenched their thirst supernaturally. Their shoes and clothing never wore out and he led them by fire and a cloud. But, their greatest challenge was to get the mindset and imprint of Egypt and its customs out of them so that they could get to know the True Living God and entirely new way of living.
They did seem hard of learning, probably much like many of us today. We see the signs, we watch the miracles but sadly we stay stuck, frustrated and wondering if anything good can ever come of a situation. This is often what happens when we are moulded and influenced by negative surroundings and a pervading sense of hopelessness.
GOD CHOOSES YOU TO WORK THROUGH
God had to show a firm side of Himself to these people. God chose to show Himself through a man prepared for a significant time, otherwise the crowd would have died from the sheer intensity of God’s actual presence and power. For reasons only known to God, He has chosen to display His glory through humankind.
First God met Moses while a bush burnt but it was not consumed. Then He revealed Himself in a cloud, on a mountaintop, and in a battle. Through a very-much-like-today set of circumstances, Moses endured, he faced his own challenges and became God’s messenger, even though he felt unqualified and apparently suffered from a stammer or a stutter. He had many excuses as to why this task should fall to someone else. Through Moses however, God taught the people to respect His power. He showed them the need for obedience to His authority for their own protection and survival. He wanted them to learn to trust, to lean into Him with tried-and-tested faith and to grasp the magnitude of His omniscience and omnipotence. You can read the book of Exodus in the Bible to get more insight into Moses’ life-changing experiences with God. It will inspire you to put away your own excuses and to walk into your God-ordained destiny.
It is man that needs reminding of God’s instructions; not God who needs to adjust to our plans. After God had completed His magnificent creation, it is repeated that He rested on the seventh day. This must be of great significance to God because while He worked to get the process of getting the old system of a slavery mindset out of the people, God gave a very important instruction in Exodus 16:30. He told the people they were to rest on the seventh day. It was a non-negotiable. A must do!
IT IS TIME TO RESET
It is interesting that if you put a second “e” into the word rest, you get the word RESET. Which is exactly what it is intended to do; to reset you for the week ahead. I am sure many will agree, that in this time of isolation and lockdown, we have been forced to reset many things in our lives; everything from our use of time, how we relate to others, what is really important in life and what is not, and many have had to reset financially.
For certain, there is power in stillness, in rest and reflection. God knew we needed it and so He is in the process of turning this pandemic around for our good as we have been forced to set things aside, to rest and to become still. I am taking excerpts out of my book, Turn It Around, to underscore these truths.
In the whirlwind of life, it seems that one of the most difficult but essential actions to take is to cease taking action for a while and regain proper perspective. When we do so, we give ourselves the opportunity to reshape, reframe and reform our thinking. It is astonishing what happens when we give ourselves the freedom to turn something around in our minds and look at it from another angle-just as the Israelites needed to turn from a mindset of slavery to accepting freedom.
When last did you stop and ask yourself why you do something in a certain way, or see a situation from a particular viewpoint, or even why you hold a firm belief about a person or some circumstance? Turning it around may be the very action required to reveal your answer, to find a fresh solution or to experience that long-awaited breakthrough—not to mention the potential of having a meaningful, life-defining change. This is found in the power of stillness.
EXAMINE THE CONSEQUENCES IN YOUR LIFE
We are often rigidly set in our way of thinking and what we believe, so much so, that we unknowingly short circuit the pathway that leads to our growth. This could hinder us from taking advantage of new opportunities. Familial ways entrenched through generations of repetitive patterns of negative thinking and behavior can so easily become our life configuration and outcome. We don’t know why we steadfastly hold onto dogmas, stigmas and dramas that are not fitting for our lives—but we do. We dislike the outcomes, but we keep doing the same things anyway. Being confined to a deeply rooted mindset can work for or against you. To know which it is, examine the results and consequences in your life. Are you experiencing a healthy, plentiful and abundant harvest in all the areas of your life—spiritually, relationally, emotionally, mentally, physically, socially and financially? Or is your reaping scant and lean, and does your life bear the marks of drought and dysfunction?
When you take the time to be still, you can reflect on the many aspects of your life and turn them around so that you can experience liberating truths, despite the negativity around you or the downward spiral of daily news and the endless opinions of other people. Turning it around can offer you a clear pathway that leads you to find a firm footing amid the shaky ground we are experiencing right now.
PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU HEAR-IT WILL INFILTRATE YOUR LIFE
It is, however, our responsibility to access what God has created for us and to choose the way we think, speak, act and live in every aspect of life. In Joshua’s life—and Joshua was Moses’ protege; Joshua learnt from Moses’ leadership and experience. When Joshua was passed the baton from Moses, God instructed him to ensure that he meditated on the God’s words day and night, and to observe all the things they contained. By doing so, Joshua would make his way prosperous and deal wisely and have good success (see Joshua 1:8). Since God is the same yesterday, today and forever, this same principle applies to you.
In finding the power in stillness let us meditate on Jesus’ unequivocal instruction:
“Pay attention to what you hear. By your own standard of measurement [that is, to the extent that you study spiritual truth and apply godly wisdom] it will be measured to you [and you will be given even greater ability to respond]—and more will be given to you besides. For whoever has [a teachable heart], to him more [understanding] will be given; and whoever does not have [a yearning for truth], even what he has will be taken away from him.”
– Mark 4:24–25, AMP
This being true, there is every hope for you to shift your perceptions in a changing world and live in God-created abundance and joy in every sphere of your life. I have learned in my own life that sometimes it is just a little tweak of a thought, a shift in perception or change of opinion that opens up new horizons before me.
I made an important personal decision some time ago. It may seem humdrum and old-fashioned to you, but maybe not so. It might just perhaps be worth lending an ear. I decided to be obedient, especially in response to the rush-no-more call and to give the technology demand a break. It so very easily becomes your master—that small little device that makes itself at home in your hand and is just short of being permanently welded to your limb. It insidiously makes you believe that you cannot live without it. There is a subtle pressure to take out your technology and your work on your day of rest, in order to prepare, just in case you are rushing everywhere on Monday, and Tuesday, and perhaps the whole week.
I knew there had to be more significance to the age-old commandment to observe the Sabbath. It is most important to note that it is the fourth commandment of the ten and devoutly followed by observant Jews to this day. There is great wisdom in having a day of committed rest and relaxation, stillness and reflection.
Therefore, one of the kindest decisions I have made for myself (since I cannot control and dictate other people’s choices) is to honor my day of rest as my day of no rushing, no technology, no work, no deadlines and no commerce. To be faithful to the conviction of my own heart, it has become my treasured day of rest, relaxation and restoration. I call it my “hammock day”.
It is not the day of the week that is important, but that you take one day a week and get off the relentless treadmill that is ever-increasing in speed and demands. Put the day aside for connection with family and friends. Take well-deserved time to enjoy leisure activities, eat a delicious meal together, laugh, reflect, take a walk, nap, read, be kind to yourself and all the while, talk to God. He knows why He created the day for you to be still. He knows you need it.
Since I made that all-important decision and turned around what felt like another work day, I have been revived, refreshed and energized. There is merit and benefit in obeying the instruction to recognize the stillness. It is not an outdated, ancient or lost practice. It is vital to our sense of equilibrium, well-being and worship—the art of staying connected to our Source, which is God. He can turn off our oxygen supply at anytime. We can’t even keep our breath in our own lungs. He is our life.
In his book The Art of Stillness, author Pico Iyer says, “Our creations come not when we’re out in the world, gathering impressions, but when we’re sitting still, turning those impressions into sentences. Our job, you could say, is to turn, through stillness, a life of movement into art.”
IN THE STILLNESS OF YOUR SOUL YOU WILL REFLECT AND SEE…
I have always taken moments during the day to be still, to reflect. The morning is usually the time I find best to be still and acknowledge that God is God. I wait. I listen. I journal. I ask what is on God’s agenda for the day since He already knows the end from the beginning. All too soon though, the temptation to rush on ahead into a busy day is there.
Stillness takes discipline, but discipline is what it takes if you want the power to live a meaningful life. Stillness is one of the most valuable gifts you can give yourself. It is more relaxing than a full day at the spa. It is invigorating beyond words. It is more energizing than your best form of exercise. It is more soulful than listening to your favorite piece of music. Your ears become more attuned—especially to hear those quiet whispers from God. Your heart rate slows, your breathing becomes even, and His peace flows over you like a river.
We all have a choice: we can look at this time of global shut-down with frustration, tremble in fear, be pent up with anxiety, or give into hopelessness. Or we can turn it around for our good. Embrace the silence, the stillness, the quietness, the reflection time. It is an ideal time to awaken your therapeutic gifts of painting, any other form of artwork, writing, photography—focusing on that which brings you joy, peace and enjoyment.
What is produced in the place of quiet will be expressed in public. The quiet, yet powerful and authoritative manner in which Jesus went about His daily tasks was the exact representation of the times He spent in quiet communion with His Father. He often moved away from the demanding crowds who were wanting to make Him king. He spent many of His days in solitude on the mountain. We most often have to retreat in silence to return in power.
GET RID OF THE BUSY LIVING
I need wide spaces in my heart
Where faith and I can go apart
And grow serene.
Life gets so choked by busy living,
Kindness so lost in fussy giving,
That love slips by unseen.
The Author is Unknown
So when you feel rushed, chased or frenetic in any area of your life, keep reminding yourself to return to stillness. There is power in stillness.
As you choose to move into this serene place of rest, may God bless you and keep you, may God make His face to shine upon you and give you His unfathomable peace. Hope will always light up your way.
Be sure to listen to the podcasts on this website to be inspired as you drive, travel or take your daily exercise, and be mindful that there is power in stillness.