Be still and know that I am God.
Friend to Friend
As I watched the movie “Twister” for the first time, I was reminded of the small Texas town where I grew up. Tornadoes were a common occurrence in Brownwood. In fact, we sometimes had “tornado drills” in order to prepare for the next storm. When ominous dark clouds began to gather and the possibility of tornadoes increased, warning sirens screamed through that quiet little town, sending every man, woman and child scurrying for safety. Our safe place was an old, musty storm cellar in the back yard where my family huddled until the “all clear” siren sounded.
Life is filled with twisters – overcrowded schedules, impossible demands, unrealistic expectations, emotional bankruptcy, and physical exhaustion. During those turbulent times, my first reaction is to run and hide until the storm passes over, but I have come to two realizations; first, there will always be another storm and second, what I must do is learn how to prepare for storms before they hit. I need to find my safe place – at the feet of Jesus in solitude.
Solitude and rest go hand in hand. To be alone with God brings power that can be found in no other place. At His feet, listening and waiting, is where we begin to understand the daily reality of a purpose-filled life. It’s in His arms that we are bathed in unconditional love, transformed and equipped to live an abundant life.
Failure to practice solitude often leads to a stress-filled existence lived on the run. We are His sheep, and sheep are never fully at ease around rushing water. The Shepherd leads His sheep beside still waters. The reason is very simple.
Sheep instinctively know that the weight of their wool, when wet, will drown them. Sheep need still, quiet waters in order to live—and so do we. The psalmist offers a foundational truth when he writes, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). This verse implies that there is much about God we cannot know on the run. It also suggests that when we do carve out time with Him alone, and are still before Him, we will know Him more.
I’m not certain that a hit-and-run type of life can really be called living. Undoubtedly, Jesus didn’t live this way while on earth. In fact, His times of solitude and rest are clearly recorded in Scripture. Solitude not only replenishes us, it provides the place we can and must go in order to know Him intimately. Stillness implies quietness and solitude, the place where our minds grow clear and our souls catch up.
The more responsibility we carry and the busier we are, the more we need regular solitude. There is a Greek motto that says it well: “You will break the bow if you keep it always bent.”
How many people break under the load of stress because there is no solitude in their schedules? We need to unbend by secluding ourselves with God. If we don’t schedule solitude, it will rarely happen.
We plan and schedule the things in life we deem important, often missing the highest and best things God has for us. Stress thrives on chaos and frenzy. Solitude is a place where we are empowered and equipped for life, the place where stress is disarmed and peace reigns.
You may have to be creative when it comes to finding time for solitude. Instead of flipping the radio on in the car or automatically turning on the television, capture those moments for solitude. Search for those times to be still before God and watch how they will empower your busiest days and diffuse stress.
Find creative locations for solitude – in your home, your workplace, or outside. I love the story of Susannah Wesley, the mother of John and Charles, and mother to 18 children. When her children saw her with her big hoopskirt pulled up over her head, she was not to be disturbed because she was praying. She was capturing a few minutes of solitude!
How often are you alone with your own thoughts or God’s voice? The busier, more hectic your life is, the more you need to capture those moments of silence and solitude.
Father, I recognize my need for time alone with You. I lay down my schedule, my agenda and anything else in my life that would keep me from time spent with You. Please forgive me for the way I often squander away my time. Give me the power to invest time wisely.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
- Choose to practice solitude – today.
- Select a place to spend time in solitude – today.
- Lay down your agenda.
- Focus on Him and listen for His voice.
- Memorize Psalm 37:7 “Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him.”
- Ask yourself these questions and use the answers to shape a plan for regular solitude:
- Why am I afraid of silence?
- What is the greatest obstacle to solitude in my life?
- What steps do I have to take in order to remove those obstacles?
- What do I hope to gain from time spent in solitude?
More from the Girlfriends
We have over-complicated prayer. In its purest form, it is talking with and listening to God. Most of us have the talking part down. The listening part – not so much! Chair time is an E-book that will teach you how to practice solitude and learn how to hear the voice of God.