Be Still!

 Photo courtesy of Sharon Fox of Lincolnton, NC

Photo courtesy of Sharon Fox of Lincolnton, NC

Last Christmas, my husband presented me with an unusual gift.  It was a square throw-pillow with the words “Be Still” printed on it.  I love it.  It sits quietly on my couch now, reminding me not to let the random hurry and scurry of daily life keep me distracted.

God says the same thing through the Psalmist in Psalm 46:10. 

“Be still; I will be exalted; the nations and the earth will know me.” (paraphrase mine) 

Essentially, God is telling us that He will be known “without,” or “in spite of” our well-meaning actions.  In fact, perhaps our frantic hurried-ness to “do the right thing” takes away from God’s glorious reputation in the world of human beings.

Part of the “being still” is having a Sabbath time each week.  “Time to be created instead of creator,” says Abraham Joshua Heschel.  God took a Sabbath after creating the world (Genesis 2:2-3).  Think about verse 3 and how you can stamp value on all you have done in the previous 6 days.  Think about how to make those things holy.

Stop to Start

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If there isn’t a God, we better fret and worry and expend all our energy figuring out what to do. But if there is a God, perhaps the most important thing we can do is to stop and listen.

In the “Upside Down Training” we do at Graffiti, we sometimes share this important community service principle:

Don’t just do something–stand there.

In times of stress, developing the habit of stopping and being attentive may actually be the most practical, and, well, active thing we can do.

In Isaiah, God makes a remarkable promise. “And when you turn, whether to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it'” (Isaiah 30:21). We are flooded with potential information to our cell phones, televisions, radios, and we have to make some choices.

In the same way, perhaps it isn’t that God hasn’t sent out a signal. Maybe we just haven’t stopped to tune in properly.

Walk Up Not Out

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“Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.” Ephesians 5:2

To this day I still remember my biggest regret from my days at Oak Grove elementary school. This isn’t regret that I realize now, that I didn’t know then. Instead, I knew then what I didn’t do that I should have done.

Here it is: I should have been a friend.

I had a lot of friends and for the most part I think I was a good friend. But, there was a girl that I intentionally kept at a distance, simply because she smelled.

Her odor made her an outcast.

This girl from my childhood came to mind recently when our children in our afterschool program were encouraged by our children’s director to “Walk Up, Not Out.” Here is the poster from our program that explains the idea:

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At a time when activism is encouraging people to speak up and walk out, I doubt either of those things would have made a difference to that little girl sitting alone in the lunch room. Then again, writing and reflecting now does nothing for her either. But maybe, I will see a person this week, walk up to them, take them to lunch, and treat them like a friend. Whether it does anything to change their life doesn’t really matter. The point is to change mine.