How To Be Still & Know God

Keith KettenringBible Insights, Christian Living, The Uncommon Journey

You awaken from sleep with your mind instantly activated. What needs to be done at work today? What is happening with the children? My “to-do” list is long.  Phone calls. Projects. Meetings. Emails. People. Meals. Exercise. Yard work. Errands. Orders. Decisions. Travel. Planning. Doing. You say, “Being still is impossible. There are too many things to do.”

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This kind of hectic living brings you into direct conflict with God’s design for you.

The Lord is my shepherd and I shall lack nothing. He has made me to dwell in green pastures; beside the waters of rest has He nourished me. He has brought back my soul; He has led me on paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

Even as you read these words your heart longs for stillness. Since this is where the shepherd takes you, follow him there.

God often invites you to stillness through physical challenges – you are sick in bed, disabled by an accident, or tired from too much activity. You can also choose to be still with dedicated times of solitude, scheduled breaks in your day, or retreats a few days a year.

A Journey to Stillness 

From my experience, crafting a life of stillness begins by truly acknowledging your busyness and preoccupation with accomplishing things. Then it continues as you establish new patterns of stillness. Here are two:

  1. Leave the house and the electronics and enter nature. Actually observing stillness quiets your heart and body. With few exceptions, creation is still. Carefully observe the trees, flowers, birds, water (stream, lake, ocean), clouds, stars, sunrise/sunset, animals, and plants. Breathe deeply. Listen to the gentle tones of creation. Feel the caress of wind and warmth on your skin. Smell the fragrance of Spring, Summer, Fall, or Winter. Imbibe the intoxicating splendor of God’s beauty. Or, step into the fresh blanket of snow and hear the sound of stillness emanating from the frozen flakes.
  2. Create a place of stillness in your own home – a spare bedroom, a favorite chair, or a semi-isolated corner of a room or basement. Furnish the space with a chair, table, and candle. Remove distractions. Include items that encourage focus on God – a picture or icon of Jesus, a cross, or a symbol of the Trinity. Make it a simple yet beautiful place you want to visit everyday.

The key to the at-home space is to use it regularly if not daily. Let it call you to be still with God. Light the candle, sit in the chair, let the stress and cares of the day fall from you. Relax and simply be with God. No agenda (you don’t have to try to hear anything from God). No expectations. No concern for results. Just be still with God.

As you learn to be still in these ways, stillness begins to blossom in your everyday life.

I don’t want to kid you. This sounds romantically easy. But, as you begin to enter stillness, you also begin to struggle with random thoughts, ideas, and perceptions. Don’t let this struggle discourage you from stillness. These distractions can be managed. I will share how in a future post.

For now, commit to establishing times of stillness in your life whether in nature or in your home. And then do it. You will begin to experience some of the benefits I shared in the last post. Above all, you will begin to know God in new and fresh ways.

Share below your experience of establishing stillness in your life.

Dr. K