Spiritual Training Cycle: Presence (wk. 6/13)
“Take a moment to reflect on what you just accomplished.” The familiar phrase emerged from Coach’s mouth as I walked into the gym. Open gym was coming up, the time when most of the coaches get together and train. The previous class had just finished their WOD. Taking those words to heart, I saw some athletes standing, some sitting, and others laying on their backs spent from all the work they had completed. All of them were reflecting, taking a moment to just be still.
This month we turn our focus to the spiritual exercise of stillness. Let me ask you this, how hard is it for you to be still? For many of us being still is one of the toughest things we do. Why? Because we live in a world that’s in constant motion. Culture is always moving, going from one trend to the next. Technology is moving. Think about the last time Instagram told you that you were all caught up in your feed. It seems like we’re never caught up. And our communities are in motion too. Major life events, new jobs, kid’s sports. Keeping up is the workout of the day! So, how is that we are to take in all life is bringing us if we’re doing nothing? Stillness is more than doing nothing, it’s a discipline.
We define stillness as a quiet body, a slow mind, an open spirit, and a focus on God. Stillness is the absence of movement. This spiritual exercise has been used for thousands of years to create space to connect with God. Think of stillness as a spiritual pause button in your life. When you’re still, the space you create allows you to do some pretty cool things. Like linger with God. How awesome is it to just hang out with the Creator of the universe. Stillness also allows you to rest. We have watches and other devices that measure the quality of our sleep and being restless drives your score way down. There’s something intrinsic to humans and their need for rest. Stillness is programmed rest in your day. And finally, stillness teaches us to wait. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found myself moving ahead of God. I’m at the tip of the spear like, “Come on Big Guy, we’ve got things to do. Let’s go!” Meanwhile, God’s revealing that my pace and my rhythm aren’t leading me to His ultimate purpose and plan for my life. Stillness is letting go and letting God.
One of the best places in the Bible I’ve discovered to study stillness is the book of Psalms. The Psalms are a collection of wisdom writings by multiple authors. More than just writing, Psalms are poetry – Hebrew poetry. The Greek title of the book is “scared songs sung to musical accompaniment.” The Psalms are music – the lyrics for the hymns of ancient Israel. The Psalms are also praises. Even in the midst of difficulty or despair or depression, the writers always point back to God, His goodness, and His promises. And one of things God called his people to was stillness. If you want to experience God in new and exciting ways, join me this month in learning to be still.
Questions for Reflection:
How you ever tried to just sit still with God? What was your experience like?
Where would stillness best fit into the rhythm of your typical day?