Mid-Week Reflection: Stillness

Author: Emily Hinshaw
May 27, 2020

“Be Still and know that I am God”–Psalm 46:10

This verse was once introduced to me as a morning devotion before heading out to a day of outreach and service. But, instead of a traditional devotion which introduces a passage followed by brief commentary, this devotion was only the verse, and it went like this:

Be still and know that I am God
Be still and know that I am
Be still and know that
Be still and know
Be still and
Be still

Our small group said these words together, slowly and deliberately, as though swallowing and savoring each individual component while also realizing its part in the larger meaning of the phrase. It was beautiful.
But still… “still”? I struggle with “still."

Recently, I hit my head (please do not be alarmed, I’ve recovered quite well). I hit my head and I received a throbbing concussion with accompanying orders to avoid screens, reading, physical activity, or anything else that might strain my brain. I thought I’d encountered “stillness” when my classes transitioned on-line and I could attend four different lectures without leaving my chair. But a shelter in place order coupled with a concussion? ‘Stillness’ just reached a whole new level.

At first, I was upset and anxious. I was missing out on so many Zoom calls! I couldn’t study or read. What about my classes? My daily walks went from several miles to one very slow mile. All my forced down-time felt increasingly confining, almost like a punishment.

After days of nothing aside from sleeping and eating, I realized that I’d simultaneously, and unknowingly, reflected. I had nothing but time to let my mind wander, and it naturally wandered towards deep, difficult questions: Who is the person I’ve been, the person I am, and the person I want to become? What does my relationship with God look like right now? How is God present in my life? How is God present in my relationships with others? What do these relationships with others even look like right now?

Be still, and know that I am God.

I think in many ways we’ve entered a false state of stillness with stay at home orders, even as they begin to relax. We believe we are still because we haven’t moved much. But this isn’t stillness. And I don’t believe you need to suffer a concussion in order to find stillness.

But it is worth asking, how can we find intentional stillness with God in our busy lives? How can we slow down, still our hearts of anger, sadness, or anxiety? I now find stillness in an unhurried cup of coffee in the morning. I now find stillness seated outdoors without any devices, but perhaps the company of a loved one. Where will you find stillness?

Be still, and know that I am God.


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