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Still Enough

We live in an age of the inability to sit still, but I believe this is a merely byproduct of the human condition. Or rather, the byproduct of a human living in a post-fall context. As Corrie ten Boom famously said, "If the devil can't make you sin, he'll make you busy."

Biblically, however, busyness is not a purely external way of being but instead a posture of the heart that glorifies our limited timetable and worships our schedule. One can have a full schedule and be the most peaceful, still, and present individual around. One can also have an empty schedule with a racing heart and a busy, stressed-out, anxious mind.

Contrary to many statistics, recent books, and the niche digital monastic movement in the Western world, a busy soul is not technology's fault. It's not secular music's fault. It's not one particular form of government's fault.

No, the busy and loud mind is a spiritual condition more than anything else.

It's an attention problem.

Because it doesn't matter how often you have worship on in the background if you sit in church multiple times a week, if you never acknowledge that God exists.

Perhaps all atheism is partly caused by the fact that those individuals are never still enough to acknowledge Him. It's not that they don't believe in God as much as they distarct themselves to death instead of seek out the possibility of His existence. Which, incidentally, many Christians can be guilty of as well, myself included.

Towards the end of Psalms 46, God proclaims:

"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

So, how still do I have to be? You may be trying to instantly break this down in practicals, like what time of day can I set aside to be still before Him? Which isn't bad but very Scriptural. Indeed, God would be delighted if you gave Him an hour- He treasures that time immensely more than you do, which is incredible because He is the fullness of time- but He wants your time.

But God is making an even bolder declaration about what it means to live in His presence. He is saying we merely have to be still enough to know Who He is. We can be in the middle of a crowded room, a million people demanding our attention, yet be still enough to be aware that the King of the universe inhabits this space, with me, beside me, in me.

And when we give Him our awareness, our attention, devotion will follow. Sacrifice could look like a million different things, but perhaps the most important (and most difficult) we can daily lay at His feet is our focus. Our stillness of heart inevitably allows the peace that surpasses all understanding to bleed into all areas of life, even the area where our bodies may be the busiest. Protect that stillness of heart. Guard your attention- because this is no doubt the very place the forces of evil try to attack you first, as Corrie ten Boom stated.

However, living a life solely before Jesus, a life of ceaseless prayer is easier said than done. That's why I'd like to zoom out on the broader picture of Psalm 46 because, truly, this psalm is one dedicated to allowing God to be the center of our attention.

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." -Psalm 46:1

This line could very quickly be passed over, but it completely connects to the ending verse we read previously. When we live a life still enough to know who God is in relation to our daily life, we could very easily be given the false impression that we must live in some foggy, weird contemplative state.

For example, one can get so consumed by forcing their thoughts toward God that they completely miss it when someone tries to speak to them. They're not present. They may be still enough to know God, but they don't know Him in relation to where their feet are.

But God is very present in our day-to-day reality. Thus, we can seek Him and find Him right where we are. We become still enough to know where God is, within the people we speak with, in the beauty of our surroundings, in a good novel, in baking a good loaf of bread, at a table with friends.

Jesus is seated at the right hand of God in the heavenly places, and He has all rule and authority and power and dominion, but His Spirit is very present. So we can live aware of Him and be very present, too.

Being caught up in the presence of Jesus right where our feet are is the most aware of our reality we can be. Here, we know God and, as a result,, the true nature of all things. In his book The Practice of the Presence of God, Brother Lawrence said, "If we only knew how much we need God's grace, we would never lose touch with Him."

When we are still enough to know Who God is and our smallness in comparison. The lie that busyness sells is one of complete independence; thus, we make ourselves much more important than we are. No wonder we become too busy for the people around us. All we can think about is me me me. But God is ushering us into something much different and much more relieving when He asks for our attention.

Brother Lawrence continues, "During your meals or during your daily duty, lift your heart up to Him, because even the least little remembrance will please Him. You don't have to pray aloud, He is nearer than you can imagine...we can make our heart a chapel where we can go anytime to talk to God privately."

Jesus is not far from you- He is nearer than you can imagine. And He is not someone to fit into your timetable, or to use the words of the great American poet John Mark Pantana, so often we want "everything in nine to five and devote time...sometimes [we] make life a simple cell."

When we attempt to give God five minutes and let busyness invade for the rest of the day, we forget what life means in the first place. For a Christian to live that way is to try to live twenty-three hours without breathing. Jesus uses the "abide" language not as a cute saying but because He is trying to convey that when we are in Him, we are inseparable from Him. When we live with our eyes off Him, we live dead. We are walking around as a stressed-out shell of a person. We forget God exists. We forget our need, our desperate need, for His grace. We forget to be thankful that He always gives it.

I'm aware that what I'm saying is nothing new. It's very much age-old truth. But the cure for the busy and overworked heart is one look, one breath away, at all times, because Jesus makes Himself near, even when we don't make ourselves available to Him.

Our minds go a mile a minute, thinking and worrying over so many things. But all that mental capacity was not intended for that purpose. Instead, before time began, Christ shaped our minds, souls, and hearts with the capacity to hold His presence.

We have infinite space to worry because we were created to hold an infinite God. We were created to exalt Him in our inner being, to know the love of God that surpasses knowledge (Eph 3:16-18). Busyness is a cheap, soul-killing way of misusing what God made you for.

Not to know everything but to know the God Who is everything. YHWH, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, Former of Worlds, King of Kings.

No wonder that on their last dinner together, Jesus administered Communion as a way of remembering Him. Communion can only occur when our rememberance and our attention is given. When we're still enough to behold Him. Don't miss this- we are able to give Jesus our focus because His gaze is already fixed on us. As Teresa of Avila said, when we glance at Him, we are "looking at God looking at us" already.

When we allow ourselves to find our life again in God's eyes, when we choose to remember Him even just a moment more often, those moments take on eternal worth.

Never underestmate what Jesus can do with even a second that we become still enough to look at Him. For every ounce of guilt we feel over all the moments we wasted and kept for ourselves, take heart- He redeems everything. He has a plan for the fullness of time to unite all things in Him (Eph 1:10). If we give Him a moment for every ten thousand, it is better than allowing our deep guilt to keep us away. For every second we are still enough to know God, we know, we remember, the grace He never fails to lavish upon His beloved (Eph 1:8). Upon you. You're never more than a breath away from Him. Never more than a glance away from the safety, the peace, the stillness of the presence of God, our Home.

One more quote from Brother Lawrence:

"In short, we cannot show God our loyalty to Him more than by renouncing our worldly selves as much as a thousand times a day to enjoy even a single moment with Him."


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