Finding Stillness in the Midst of the Pressure to Prove

“Be still, and know that I am God”

-Psalm 46:10

 

If there is one thing I struggle with in life, it is stillness. Everything I’ve ever accomplished in life has been because of my constant hard work, dedication, and going above and beyond. As a student, an athlete, and an employee, all of my achievements have come because of the grind.

I’m finding as I get older that the constant grind isn’t sustainable. If you live in the constant state of hustle, nothing is ever good enough. There will always be another goal to hit or hurdle to jump over. I have such a desire to find rest and stillness. I want to feel like my life is good enough like I am enough. I find myself hustling so hard that I’m not even enjoying life when there is so much to love!

I’m reading the book Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequist and in it, she talks about fake rest. She says,

“It looks like I’m resting, too. But I’m not. I’m ticking down an endless list, sometimes written, always mental, getting things back into their right spots, changing the laundry, wiping down the countertops. … I fake-rested instead of real-rested, and then I found that I was real-tired.”

I feel that on a spiritual level. I’m not good at resting for real or finding stillness. I want to, though. I want to feel peace and contentment. I want to feel like I am finally good enough, and I can stop striving so hard. However, I also know that mindset won’t come to me if I keep doing what I’ve always done. I can’t hustle my way to peace, and neither can you. 

You know, that Bible verse I quoted at the beginning of this post is used so often, but I think we miss a huge piece of the context. If you read further to the very next verse, it says, “The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” (Psalm 46:11). 

I have been thinking about stillness for a while now, and when I came across verse 11, I knew I needed to look deeper. What is a fortress really? I found two incredible definitions. Dictionary.com defines it as, “any place of exceptional security; stronghold.” Google simply stated this, “a person or thing not susceptible to outside influence or disturbance.”

This means our God provides exceptional security. Instead of being insecure about who we are, our place in this world, if we are successful enough, or if our life is glamorous enough, we can be secure in God and who He says we are. (Spoiler alert: He calls us worthy before we can prove it to Him. He calls us whole before we find anyone else to complete us.) We can be unsusceptible to disturbance, we just have to be still. 

I realized I don’t want to be the coolest anymore. I don’t want to be the prettiest or the strongest or the richest. I just want to be the happiest.

Now, if you’re like me, you’re saying “okay be still got it. I’ll put it on my to-do list and find some measurable benchmarks to obtain stillness.” But that’s just it. That’s the paradox of stillness, you can’t do it, you have to be it. I find stillness when I pray a few sentences and then I just breathe. Close your eyes, and resist the temptation to think of anything. Some people call this meditation, some people call it prayer, some people call it contemplation. The titles don’t matter, just find stillness in your day and let yourself just be for once.

Stop to smell the roses for once, and enjoy your freaking life! After all, you only get one.

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