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Sunday, January 6, 2013

"Be still." If I had a nickel for each time I told my four children those two words I'd be typing this from my beachfront home in Maui.

 Funny how these are the very words God tells us, his own kids in Psalm 46:10.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

 When our son, David, was a toddler we thought we’d just about lose our minds. Trying to get him to fall asleep at night almost drove us mad. We had two more children after him - this is more miraculous than you know.

I dreaded each evening when I would put him to bed. And just like each evening before he would do anything but sleep. I tried story time, bath time, keeping sugar out of his reach and anything else that might help get him ready to  sleep. Our bright idea? Drive him to sleep. Yep, desperation won out. 

We would drive him around until he nodded off. Paul would load him up in his red feety pajamas and off they’d go. Sometimes hours would go by before I’d see the headlights flash  through my kitchen window announcing their return.

Chevron has us to thank for such a prosperous 2006. 

I’d run to open the front door as my sweet husband held an exhausted little boy limp from slumber and slung over his daddy’s shoulder. No matter how many nights this father and son car ride occurred Paul always shared the incredulous antics afterward of a little boy who would  stay busy doing anything to prolong bedtime.

“Joanne, he is incredible! David will touch buttons on his car seat, flick the window and even kick the passenger seat in front of him until finally I have to lean it forward out of his reach. Once I remove anything and everything that might distract him he finally nods off. I can’t believe this kid.”

I think a lot of us adults have the same problem. Our lives are so busy we’re overstimulated and distracted. We don’t know how to be still. It doesn't feel natural. We're in captivity of our activity and have no clue how to slow down. A gradual slow down method never worked for me. No matter what I cut out of my day before long I was busier than ever.  Radical change is what helps me most. Stopping cold turkey whatever is keeping me running.

So, what do you think about letting a few things go this year? Consider scratching a few have-to’s off your calendar and learn how to be still again.  Ready for a little radical living? Here’s a few suggestions for a memorable new year.
  • Remove anything from your calendar that your husband has complained about over and over again. Why don’t you listen to him this time? Let it go!
  • Stop driving everywhere. How many hours are you spending in your car? How about setting a mileage limit for the week? The price of gas alone is enough to help curb your second job as a domestic cab driver.
  • Quiet time—it’s not just for kids anymore. Give yourself a gift. How about some tranquil time each day? Turn off the TV. Turn off your phone. Make yourself a cup of tea and meditate on a scripture or just sit in silence. Why not give God the chance to talk to you today?
Learning to be still might take a little time.  I lost the ability to be still somewhere along the road of marriage and family living.  When Jesus calms the storm in the Gospel of Mark He says, “Peace, be still.” I want more peace in my life and being still is how I can get some more of it back. I refuse to make another resolution about cutting carbs and walking on my treadmill this year. Before I tackle my outside appearance I need to make sure my spiritual house is in order first.

When we are still we will feel His presence. We will know He is God. In the hustle and bustle of our much-too-connected-world we drown out stillness. Tranquil moments are saved for annual vacations or put off and rarely experienced anymore. It's not how it should be.

Be still and know He is God. A New Year’s challenge I look forward to tackling this year.

What about you? When was the last time you experienced a still moment?