Courage to ‘be still’
Be still, and know that I am God! – Psalm 46:10
If you had met me two years ago and asked, ‘How are you doing, Claire?’ I guarantee that a certain four words would have escaped from my mouth ‘I’m really busy, thanks!’
I admit it: I was a busy bragger.
And let’s face, I’m not the only GB leader that is. In the culture that surrounds us, where productivity has become an idol, many of us wear busyness like a badge of honour. It can be intoxicating. For some like me, being busy became proof of my own worthiness.
Are you living a life of ‘breaking busy?’ Alli Worthington defines this as a life without peace where decisions are made for the approval of others not God. I know what it feels like to be tethered to an ever increasingly do-list; it feels over-whelming and anxiety-inducing. It is far from the ‘life to the full’ that Jesus talks about in John 10:10.
Then take off your busyness badge of honour and breathe. Breathe God in. Deeply. Have the courage to be still. Choose to feel instead of making yourself numb from busyness.
And ask yourself some questions:
- Why am I always striving to make myself busy?
- What makes me believe that achieving and doing will keep me ‘safe’?
- What makes me sacrifice my own happiness and health to gain approval from others?
Many of us have formed complicated narratives about our own identity and self-worth. In the world we live in, it’s quite easy to discover than our self-worth is built on a foundation of sand especially if we judge it through the world’s definition of success, achievements and other people’s approval. As Fil Anderson asks in Running on Empty: ‘Are we unable to distinguish between activity and identity, so our activity determines our identity?’
Over the last year, GB International has featured devotions around the theme of ‘Be Courageous’. For some of us, the ultimate display of courage is stepping back from our to-do list and a frenetic way of living to just be with God.
So how can we implement a different rhythm of living?
- Pausing to recharge
We need to recognise that our passion and enthusiasm for God’s ministry can be the same energy that causes us to ignore our needs and deplete ourselves. Just like our mobile phones, we have a finite capacity. We need to ensure that we’re recharging and plugging ourselves into our ultimate power source: God. Maybe it’s time to stop doing for God (aka being God’s PA) and start being with God?
Practical step: How are you nurturing your unique connection with God every day? Do you need to strike off something on your to-do list in order to do this?
- Cultivating self-compassion
Some may perceive self-care as selfish but we can’t live the life God has created for each of us if we don’t take care of ourselves. For me, self-compassion is ensuring that I don’t just have a Sabbath on Sunday but have a Sabbath hour every day: 60 mins of doing something that lights up my soul. So let’s savour slowness over frenetic living and be intentional about looking after our souls. But it requires discipline to protect this time and also saying ‘no’ to adding another thing on our to-do list.
Practical step: What will you say no to this week so you can spend time looking after your soul?
- Be present over perfect
Amid all the striving that causes us to seek perfection, it is powerful, counter-cultural and Biblical to pause and remember: ‘I am enough.’ Imagine if we all extended God’s grace to ourselves when we suffer or feel inadequate.
In God’s eyes, you are loved (Jeremiah 31:3), forgiven (Titus 2:14), chosen (Isaiah 43:2) and valuable (Deuteronomy 7:6). Sometimes we need to make more time to breath in these God-truths and breath out the lies that our culture feeds us.
Striving to be perfect by being busy can lead us to choose exhaustion over peace, isolation over connection and hustling over sacred presence. Sometimes, the most courageous thing that God is calling us to do is to stop.
Ignore the to-do list.
And rest in Him.
This week, I’m choosing to be present over perfect; living in each moment, making meaningful connections with people and refusing to be ruled by a frenetic task to-do list. This week, I’m even going to strike something off my to-do list so I can be still and know that He is God.
Join me by being courageous and let’s re-discover a new grace-filled rhythm to our lives…