Be Still

Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.
— Psalm 46:10

I must admit that I stole this verse from a friend. Can you steal a Bible verse? I’m not sure. I saw them mention it and knew I needed it. Look at all the variations of this verse. All the ways to say this same thing. Basically, God’s saying STOP IT. Stop it. Do you hear me? How many ways can I tell you the same thing?

I’ve been pondering and thinking about a word for 2016. Last year’s word was obey. I don’t think I knew when the year started what that word would end up meaning. At the beginning of 2015, I didn’t know if Just Show Up was really going to happen. We didn’t know how long we had with Kara. It was all an empty slate. The word obey rocked my little world. I am not good at that word. I am a Jonah. I have said it before and I’ll say it again—I usually end up in the belly of a whale before I figure out that God’s plan is better than mine. Even if it’s scarier.

It felt as though I had little choice many times during this last year. There were so many moments I was afraid and fearful but knew I had to obey. It was not always easy, but God met me. He reminded me that he had a plan when I didn’t know what the next step was. He reminded me that when we obey, there are blessings that follow. 2015 makes me think of the words weary, exhausting and emotional. But there was also joy and hope and faith. As we move into 2016, I was greatly encouraged by Blythe’s blog post. Those were some new year’s resolutions I could agree to. Because I also feel overwhelmed as I see people talking about losing weight or reading their Bible every day or all of these things that make me feel like I’m already behind. I am not sure I can do one more thing. Does that make me a failure before the year has even begun?

I wasn’t sure what my word was supposed to be for this year, but I saw it pop up in a number of different places, including Blythe’s post. And then I knew my word for 2016 was still. I immediately wanted to figure out, how do I do that? I know the verse in the Bible about being still and knowing that He is God, but I don’t know how to accomplish that small and yet huge thing. My fingers itched to google it because surely someone else has written about how to be still. I could follow their directions. Maybe even knock this word out of the park by spring and then take the rest of the year off.

I immediately wanted to accomplish being still. I thought about setting my phone to buzz me every single morning so I never miss a quiet time. Or reading a chapter of the Bible every day so that I can say: I did this. Do you see me? Do you see me being still like a rock star?

But is that really being still? Or just another thing for me to claim as a personal victory? Another way to do it on my own. Isn’t that just making it about me all over again? And isn’t being still about God?

And then I knew this was exactly what God wanted me to focus on—this need to fix, to do, to figure it all out on my own. He does not need my help. He needs me to be still. I have no idea how to do that. I think I’m going to start by asking him to show me. And then I’m not going to fill in the blank. I’m going to wait for his answer.

When the word obey came to me last year, I didn’t have a clue what that would look like. I didn’t know that it would entail pouring my heart and soul onto a page. I didn’t know that it would mean talking about the book without Kara until my heart broke again. I didn’t know the plans he had for me. And again, this year, the new word strikes a little fear in my heart. I don’t like things that I don’t know how to do. I don’t like giving things up to God. And being still makes me think I don’t get to solve this one. This one’s not up to me. I’m excited to see how God meets me this year—or maybe how I finally notice him in ways I haven’t before.

Do you do resolutions or do you choose a word? What did God teach you last year? Could you boil it down to a word? How do you want to grow closer to him this year? I would ask how you’re going to accomplish that, but I think the question we instead need to ask and ponder, is how is God going to accomplish that?