I often wear my busyness like a badge of honor. With children, I find it easy to get caught up in the never-ending merry-go-round of cooking, cleaning, and driving responsibilities. I'm so caught up, in fact, that it's easy to forget my spiritual nourishment. One day, as I squeezed in some quick scripture reading, a particular verse stood out.
It's funny how our interpretation or recognition of certain scriptures can change throughout our lives. I can read the same verse hundreds of times without giving it a second thought, but at just the right moment in my life, God primes my mind to receive inspiration through formerly mundane means. As many times as I've read it before, one particular day, Psalms 46:10 jumped off the page at me and it became the mantra for my current stage in life. It reads in part, “Be still, and know that I am God.”
As I was running myself ragged, trying and not always succeeding to keep up with my young family, this verse in Psalms seemed as if it was sent from God directly to comfort me. As I've embraced stillness, know the nature of God, and placed my burdens on the Lord, my life has changed for the better.
Stillness is an active verb implying much more than merely not moving and being quiet. Seeking for stillness requires me to silence my cell phone, power down the laptop and let the dirty dishes sit for another few hours. Being still requires actively putting aside my normal life and giving God a part of my mind and my heart. I find that I'm very good at busy, but stillness eludes me in my everyday life.
It's no wonder that most spiritual traditions encourage some form of meditation, whether it be through traditional yogic meditation, mindfulness, or meditating on the word of God. There is power in choosing stillness. In my life, actively forcing myself to be still balances out my hectic schedule and expands my ofttimes narrow perspective. Many days, being still is the only lifeline I have between myself and God for he doesn't often choose to shout through my chaotic thoughts. It's only when I'm still that I see the hand of God in my life.
The second, often overlooked, piece of Psalm 46:10 is to know. In my previous studies, I skimmed past the command to “know” as nothing more than a linking phrase in the middle of the scripture. However, knowing the true nature of God is essential to my finding peace in everyday life. Through studying scripture, I come to better know the nature of God, both as my loving father and as an invested participant in my everyday life. It's only through knowing the love that God has for me that I remember my infinite worth in his sight, an eternal truth that encourages me to boldly live my convictions.
The phrase “and know” also reminds me of my responsibility to study God's word so that I can come to know more about him. I imagine that, if he chose to speak to me directly, he would tell me to, “Know that I care. Know that I have a glorious plan for you. Know me, and know that I love you.” However, God mostly chooses to speak to me through his written word, and as I search the scriptures, I find precious examples of his involvement in the minutia of my life.
That I am God
For me, perhaps the most important part of this scripture is the understanding that he is God, and I am not. As I embrace my dependence on God and his plan for my life, I remember that I have a perfect companion in my quest to be a good wife and mother. While I may not always know what my family needs from me, he does because he is God, creator of all mankind, including my children and my husband. They were his long, long before they were mine, and he knows better than I how to succor them, teach them, and love them. When I abandon fulfilling all my obligations on my merit alone, I recognize the peace that comes from turning my burdens over to the Lord.
I'm fond of saying that the word of God blesses my life, but the truth is that the word of God profoundly changes my life regularly. Whether it's insight that comes from a simple verse, like Psalms 46:10, or the lessons I learn from emulating a great spiritual giant, the word feeds my soul and inspires me to become more than I currently am. A huge part of my spiritual growth comes from searching the scriptures and trying to apply their teachings in my daily life. While I often fail, back slide and fall short, I'm always supported by he who never errors and is always willing to guide me.