Cooler temps are slowly arriving. Pumpkin spice lattes, Fall-scented candles, and cute scarecrow decorations abound! School semesters and Friday night football have begun. Fall is certainly upon us!
Now that Summer break is over, and now that businesses, schools, sports, and churches are in the gradual re-opening phases, it’s easy to get busy and overloaded with activities. Everyone is excited and antsy to get “back to normal.”
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a lot of discussion about appreciating “stillness” and “being still.” Spending time with loved ones at home. Appreciating the little things. Enjoying the outdoors. Resting. Giving grace and taking one day at a time.
As Fall begins— and all the activities that come with it— let us not forget to make time to be still. Even if it’s just for a moment, every day.
All throughout the Bible, God stresses the importance of REST. It’s not only a biological need, but an emotional, psychological, and spiritual one as well. We have to intentionally and purposefully carve out that time. It’s precious. It’s needed.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I personally think extra-curricular activities are great! After-school sports, theater, music, dance, church activities, etc., are all wonderful experiences to be enjoyed by all ages. There’s a time to “be busy” and a time to “be still.”
But, what does it truly mean to be still?
It’s easier for people to understand the traditional concept of being still. Alone time. Quiet calmness. Sabbath. Rest. Prayer.
But I also think it’s possible to be still while being busy.
Being still isn’t necessarily the absence of busyness or the absence of activity. Being still is a mindset. It’s how we approach our daily experiences. It’s humbly appreciating God’s goodness, being mindful of His presence, and placing our faith and trust in Him. In the quiet and loud moments. In the slow and fast-paced schedules. In the joys and sorrows.
Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Being still in this context (to me) means trusting God. It means standing firm in our faith and knowing God is in control. He is with us in the highs and lows. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)
So, what are some ways we can be still, even amidst the busyness of life?
When you’re faced with busy work deadlines or hectic school schedules… take a breath… and know that God will help you through it. Praise Him for the professional and educational opportunities He has given you. Ask Him to show you how you can share His light and hope with others in your workplace or school.
When you’re driving your children to the umpteenth sports game (or dance recital, karate lesson, etc.) of the month… praise God for allowing your children to enjoy these fun, skill-building activities. Rest in the comfort of knowing your children feel your support and encouragement, as you help them pursue their interests and dreams. Use this time for purposeful bonding and relationship building.
When you’re busy planning Thanksgiving and Christmas events on your calendar… praise God for all of His blessings and for the gift of friends and family. Ask Him to show you how to reach out to others in need and to embrace others into your family or friendship circles.
When you’re filling your schedule with doctor’s appointments, thank Him for medical care and pray for healing, trusting Him no matter the outcome. When you’re frantically shopping for groceries, thank Him for providing food for your family. When you’re paying bills and wondering if you can afford some of them, praise God for His faithfulness, trusting that He will always provide for you in His timing and in His way.
I firmly believe that PRAISING God is an antidote to worry. Praising God involves humble gratitude, faith, and trust. The verb, to praise, is a choice. It’s an act of obedience. A voluntary proclamation to God (verbal and non-verbal) declaring our hope and trust in Him. As the Psalmist David wrote, “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.” (Psalm 42:5)
Praising God doesn’t prevent hardship, no. But it helps us to be still and know that God is in control. It provides calm in the storm. Peace and assurance amidst the chaos. Hope and faith over fear.
The COVID-19 pandemic is still on-going, and it may continue to linger for a long while. Some people— including myself— may secretly wish that Fall, Christmas, and the New Year will magically make it disappear. But I know that is just wishful thinking. Stress, worries, and fears (whether they’re related to the pandemic or related to entirely different matters) are a daily reality for many people.
As believers, we are blessed with the knowledge of the Gospel, and we can therefore choose to practice being still because of our hope and faith in God.
Maybe sometimes it will mean literally resting without busyness, and maybe sometimes it will mean mindfully resting (praising and trusting God) in the busyness. Either way, no matter what season of life or circumstances we find ourselves in, we can still choose to be still and know that God is in control.
Take time to rest in God’s faithfulness today. Be still and know. And enjoy those pumpkin spice lattes and Fall-scented candles.