Stillness. Does just reading that word make you antsy? What is it to even be still? What would it look like to just have a few minutes a day to possibly encounter stillness? No phone, television, gaming, radio, social media. Is your life so hectic, busy and full, that if you were to carve out a few minutes a day and be still, you’d think something was wrong? Like you were forgetting or missing something? Is your mind filled with anxious thoughts? Are you feeling overwhelmed by the news that comes through your feed? Does your schedule look like a multi-colored highlighted itinerary with no white space? If so, then maybe a few minutes of stillness a day is just what you need.
So how do we find stillness when so many thoughts race through our over-active minds? Good thoughts. Bad thoughts. Productive thoughts. Non-productive thoughts. They come whether we want them to or not. Turning them off is nearly impossible. Learning to redirect them takes practice. When troubling thoughts want to invade my mind, I have to be very intentional about redirecting them to positive reflections. When worry wants to demand my attention— while the concern is very real, worry is of no benefit—I endeavor to shift my worry to prayer. When anxiety wants to overwhelm, learning to be still and listen to God is fundamental to turning off the anxious thoughts and turning them to positive and productive thoughts.
Does your soul long for some quiet and stillness? To turn it all off and just BE? To just breathe? What would that be like? To rest with Jesus for just a few minutes a day? Where do we even start? “He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.” Mark 4:39 (NIV). Begin there. In the stillness, ask Jesus to calm your thoughts. Allow it happen. If Jesus can calm the wind and waves, he can calm your raging mind. When a worry wants to interrupt, redirect your thoughts and let the intrusion float by. It will be challenging, especially at first since there are so many other things that demand our attention. But stick with it! There are so many benefits for you in the stillness!
What are those benefits to dedicating a few minutes a day to being still, you ask? So glad you did! It re-grounds you. “That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, ‘Let us go over to the other side.’” Mark 4:35 (NIV). Jesus told the disciples this before the storm came, but, in the throes of the storm, fear invaded their thoughts and they forgot what Jesus had said. What fear do you need calmed so you can re-ground? Jesus will meet you in the stillness and remind you his promises are true.
In the stillness we gain perspective. “He said to his disciples, ‘Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?’” Mark 4:40 (NIV). All the disciples could see were the waves crashing over their boat. All they felt was the wind and the spray of the water relentlessly battering them and their perspective was that the storm was going to destroy them. Faith in what Jesus had already promised shifted to fear. What perspective do you need shifted? In the stillness, God can help you zoom out to see his perspective.
In the stillness we find clarity. “They were terrified and asked each other, ‘Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him’!” Mark 4:41 (NIV). As the storm raged, they were overcome with fear, so the disciples woke Jesus (oh, yeah, he was asleep in the boat!) saying, “Teacher. don’t you care if we drown?” Mark 4:38 (NIV), but after Jesus calmed the storm, in the stillness, they could clearly see Jesus was no ordinary man, that he was so much more than just “teacher”. What do you need brought into clarity? In the stillness, the Holy Spirit will guide you to clarity.
There are so many more benefits to be encountered in the stillness than merely what is mentioned here. I would love to encourage you to carve out that time, just a few minutes a day to discover those benefits. Maybe it means getting up a few minutes earlier than normal and in the quiet, before you look at your cell phone or turn on the T.V., just be still. Breathe. Seek God. It may take effort, and you will have to be intentional about it, but there in the stillness, you will discover a moment to treasure.