Why do we resist stillness with God? A question we talked about at the “Be Still” conference last weekend. A question I wrote for the small group discussions. A question I thought I’d addressed in my own life as I’ve focused on incorporating stillness and prayer into the rhythm of my life. Yet, just days after returning from a weekend focused on finding stillness with God, I found myself reluctant to enter into the stillness I’ve come to love and crave.
What are your reasons for not carving out time to be still with God?
“I’m too busy.”
This used to be my go-to excuse, but I found I got too run down and worn thin if I didn’t take the time for stillness. I had plenty of time this week, yet still couldn’t bring myself to enter that sacred space.
“I don’t know how to be still. It’s hard to be quiet for very long.”
The first time I tried to sit in silence for 15 minutes, the only thing I wrote in my journal was, “wow, that was hard!” It can be hard to be still and takes some practice to find the right methods that work for you. I’ve discovered favorite ways to be still with God, yet something was holding me back from even these.
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So, neither of these top reasons were my excuse this week. Instead, it was…
“I’m not ready to open my heart and listen.”
Oooh… I wasn’t expecting this one. I finally realized my excuse this week was I had some tough questions weighing on my heart and I wasn’t ready to hear His answers.
Spending time in stillness with God is intimate and vulnerable. Stillness is lowering your walls and letting God into the deep reaches of your soul. He’s already there, you know, but in the stillness you acknowledge and welcome His presence.
So, I finally took time to be still with God. I was beyond the point of needing this, beyond needing a refilling of His grace and love, His energy. I chose one of my favorite methods of spending time with God – a long, hot bath. In the dark, candlelit room, floating in the tub, I’m usually able to relax into His arms and still myself to listen.
As I listened to my Pandora “Praise and Worship” radio, “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol came on. An unexpected song choice for this station, but it spoke to me in a surprising way.
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?
God, if I just lay here in this tub, will you lie with me and help me forget the world and just focus on you?
I don’t quite know
How to say
How I feel
So much on my heart, so many questions and raw emotions. I’m not sure how to say what I feel, but I know You already know my heart. Still, I’ll pour out my heart to You tonight.
Those three words
Are said too much
They’re not enough
I love You, God. Thank You…
Before we get too old
Show me a garden that’s bursting into life
I’m trusting You to lead me into Your green pastures, Your future that’s bursting into life.
I need your grace
To remind me
To find my own
I’m sorry for resisting this time with You. Allow me to accept Your grace.
All that I am
All that I ever was
Is here in your perfect eyes, they’re all I can see
Your perfect eyes see all that I am, all that I ever was and all I will ever become.
I began to relax into the song and just “be” with God. Graciously, He didn’t send any visions, any great words of direction, any prompts of next steps. He knew I wasn’t ready to hear my questions answered. Tonight it was enough that I finally poured my heart and my questions out to Him. I felt His presence lying with me, just “being.”
Stillness isn’t about answers or great God moments, but rather spending time “being” with God.
In the stillness, God wants us to share our hearts with Him and allow Him to fill us up with His love and grace. He already knows your concerns, your questions, what’s weighing on your heart. He simply wants you to bring it to Him.
We all have these excuses for resisting stillness with God – even when we intentionally focus on stillness and prayer. So, what’s holding you back? Will you take a chance and try some time of stillness with God this week?
If you’d like to know more about finding stillness with God and going deeper with prayer, take a look at my “Pray Deep” series on prayer. It’s focused on answering the big questions around prayer and introduces over 20 different methods to pray and spend time with God. I’ve also written a 21-day devotional prayer guide that takes you through this study on prayer. Or, if you need to dig deeper into this topic of stillness and how to lean into God’s strength and trust Him to lead you through life’s storms, I encourage you to take up 21 days of prayer using “Pray Deep: Finding Stillness in the Storm.” This devotional will go deep into Psalm 46:10 and related verses where God reminds us to “be still” and trust Him.
I have a friend who has really encouraged me to deepend my walk with God through stillness. Finding stillness is awesome and it is amazing how much God speaks to your heart during it. I enjoyed reading your blog post.
Stillness is hard in our busy lives (especially with young kids), but so needed! An incredible way to grow closer to God and really hear Him in your life.Thanks for stopping by today!
Mary Dolan Flaherty says
I find that my biggest excuse is that I’m simply lazy. Even when I have the time, I seem to fill it with nonsense, like playing games on my tablet or just stupid stuff I can’t even remember. Thanks for this.
Oh, yes – all the distractions! I have to make myself put it all way sometimes and just “be.” Hope you can find some stillness time soon!
I keep hearing myself say….”you want the truth…you can’t handle the truth!” Dang, I’m afraid of who I really am sometimes…but it’s time to step out onto the water and walk in faith right into the plan God has for us. Scary. Thank you for the encouragement! I’m glad I get to step out there with you!
Yes! That’s exactly what it’s like! only, I hope God’s not like anything like that general 🙂 Have to say, though, as much as I resisted taking time with God, it sure felt better once I did.
We can all relate to this. Like children, its so hard to be still but so necessary! thanks for the wonderful reminder!
Donna Stone says
Stillness is so necessary. It’s too easy to get distracted by all the demanding voices surrounding me that I forget to push aside in the busy-ness of self imposed schedules. How I need to rest in His stillness.
Good post and song.
visiting from Monday’s Musings
I think taking time for stillness is one of the hardest things in our busy lives, yet is so essential for building our relationship with God. Thanks for stopping by.
Lux Ganzon says
I always find myself resisting stillness and also resisting that resistance. Haha!
Thanks for sharing this. I love that song of Snow Patrol. I forgot what movie I’ve heard it from. #bloggercare
I always think of the first season of Grey’s Anatomy when I hear this song. Maybe that’s why I was so shocked God would speak through it to me. Not a typical song I’d expect to connect so powerfully with 🙂
Sarah Knepper says
I loved that song and your interpretation. Beautiful!
Ellen Chauvin says
#3 – I’m not ready to open my heart and listen. Hmmm, that sounds like me. I’m not ready to know what’s in those deep areas of my soul. Thank you, Kathryn, looking forward to your series beginning 2/18!
I always say I want to know God’s plan for me – want the roadmap and turn-by-turn navigation – but do we really want to know the next step? Especially when that next step might be a big leap…
What a great idea for a series, Kathryn. Thanks for letting us have a peek into your spiritual life. Being still is hard. It’s easier for me to read scripture, to walk while I pray. But stillness is challenging! Thanks for this challenge. I think I’ll try just 5 minutes before I start making dinner. (I don’t think I’m up to 15 today! Have done before but not often.) Love the song, BTW.
We did 3 minutes of silence at the women’s conference last weekend and it was a challenge. Lots of squirming in the room by the time we got to 3 minutes. But I heard the next day how powerful that time was for many of the women who submitted to it. Definitely have to work up to 15 – I’ve done it a few times but it’s still hard.
Jenni DeWitt says
I love this story of how God met you where you were (in the tub listening to Pandora) so that you could be still together. God is so awesome, finding us where we are! This morning, as I was sitting in silent prayer, I realized I was searching in the silence for some tidbit of wisdom that I could write down in my journal. But when I released the searching, the “being” started, and it was glorious. There’s so much treasure in just sitting there with God, being with Him, and enjoying that timeless moment of Love. Thank you for your words. They are a gift to us!
You hit the nail on the head – “when I released the searching.” I think that’s the essence of stillness is releasing the searching, stopping all the conversation we fill our prayer time with. Instead just “be” with God and let Him enter the conversation and speak the words He wants us to hear.
Ellen Chauvin (@eechauvin) says
Beautiful insight Jenni! I need to release the searching, also!
My excuse is usually that I can’t still my mind, but you are right. Sometimes I am just not ready to think about what is going on. I need to work on stillness!
Stilling the mind is hard! I find it difficult to just sit in a room and be still. Sometimes I’m better able to quiet my thoughts when doing something repetitive, like running on the treadmill, or my current favorite, soaking in the jetted tub where the soft drone of the jets helps clear my thoughts.
Ginger Harrington (@Gingharrington) says
Learning to practice the presence of God is a challenging thing. I love the way you simplified it in this post. In Life with God, Richard Foster talks about immersing ourselves into stillness and the scriptures, as if we are slowly going underwater. That was a really helpful image for me. Enjoyed your post and I look forward to your series.
Being in God’s presence is definitely something that takes practice – but also takes releasing yourself into His arms. To let go of expectations and hopes that you’ll hear His voice or get some grand answer. Just to “be” in his presence and let Him speak His words to your heart.
Wonderful post, Kathryn. I had never heard this song before – I was blessed to listen to it. It will be on “repeat” for a while 🙂 Blessings!
Thanks, Joanne! Love how God can connect with us in expected ways, even an unexpected song.
I like this post! “I’m not ready to open my heart and listen” is my number one excuse for spending time with God. Thanks for calling it like it is and encouraging me today!
Andrew Budek-Schmeisser says
Nice post, and a great song, but it’s not me.
I’m in the middle of a fight for life, and I simply do’;t DO stillness, or vulnerability. This is a vicious fight, a loud fight (pancreatic cancer), and I intend to win by main force, and ferocity of attitude.
Bring the agony, Satan. I will bring the pain, and I will bring it to you. You may be a destroyer of souls, but you’ve picked the wrong fight this time.
God is just going to have to take me this way. I’m professionally trained to war and to survive, and it’s what I do best.
He’s just going to have to be OK with this. I won’t bow down on the streets of gold. I’ll walk up, head high, and God and His angels will bow their heads, while a warfighter walks by.
Ducemus – WE LEAD.
Soldier on and keep fighting that good fight, Warrior! Praying for you in this battle. Just consider what a little stillness could do to keep you going in the fight. I find that in the stillness, God refills and refuels me for the battles of my life. It’s a way I can enlist God and bring all His power to bear for whatever I’m facing. I often come out of stillness with renewed energy, sharper focus and enlightened game plan. Praying for all the best for you.
Gentle Joy says
Stillness with God is so important… and something rarely “found”….. it needs to be carved out of a busy schedule. Thank you for posting. 🙂
Mary Geisen says
So beautiful! I have a real affinity for stillness and learning how to be intentional in allowing God into my life. I also read your super hero post. Blessed by both. Love when you join us at The Weekend brew.
Awesome post!!! Thank you so much for sharing!!! 🙂 #BloggerCareGroup
A dog once taught me about stillness before God. Sounds strange, I know. But where I go to walk and pray, I often used to see a guy walk his dog. Except the dog was old (and very cute) and couldn’t walk far. He would stop and just stand. And his owner would stand with him. They would just be, together, and peaceful. It was a beautiful picture of how we can be with God.