November 30, 2010

On being still...

"Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!"

Psalm 46:10 ESV

When our daughter was a a preschooler, Jeff was preparing for the pastorate. Knowing that we would likely be in a small church with no nursery, we began training her to sit in the service by giving her "still and quiet lessons" at home. This involved sitting her on the couch, first for just a few minutes, then up to 20 minutes, just being still and quiet. Occasionally she could quietly look at a book or hold a doll, but she had to be reasonably still and very quiet. This was a challenge for my verbal-from-birth girl, as well as for her active brother who came up behind her. (We never needed to do this with our oldest, but that's another story.) 

It was amazing to see that these children, who were never still and quiet unless they were asleep, could be trained to be obedient in this way. We began to see the benefit of these lessons -- they could be still and quiet in church, but also in the doctor's office, the theatre, while visiting the elderly, even when we were driving through hectic traffic (not to mention during homeschooling!). And I began to notice other benefits... they were more focused during those still and quiet times.

Sometimes I think I need still and quiet lessons. I'm such a Martha; there's always something to be done. It's fine to pray unceasingly as I go about my day; I even listen to spiritual things on my iPod as I work. But there is a certain benefit to being still and knowing that God is God, just meditating on that reality. Perhaps that's what I need in order to realize the opening verses of this same Psalm:
"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way; though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling." (Psalm 46:1-3 ESV)
 Be still, and know...

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