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Being Still

Kansas City Fellow – 2016-17

Every evening as I prepare for bed, my routine is the same. I brush my teeth, put on my pajamas, pull back the covers, and climb into bed. Just after I turn out the lights, I always play one song. So as I close my eyes, I fall asleep to the beautiful words of “Be Thou My Vision”. This routine started the night I began the KC Fellows program. With the program, I began a journey where I only knew the basic outline. I knew I would be working four days a week, and in class the fifth. I also knew I was committing to walk this journey with eleven other people, but beyond that, I knew just about nothing. I had no idea what this new community of mine would be like, or even what duties my job would hold. It was all very uncertain, and yet I was all in! With anxiousness, desire for control, and competing voices penetrating what seemed like every inch of my life, I developed this precious time of remembering and pleading that the Lord would be my vision. It has been in this listening and reflection time that I have learned one major thing that has begun to shape each and every decision I make: my willingness to be still depends on my willingness to bear uncertainty.

As this thought kept creeping into my mind, it began to be a little bit earth shaking. It took me out of the mindset that being still was passive and sedentary, and replaced it with the reality that being still means pressing in to the only constant and steadfast One there is. The one true living God who is called Creator, Lord, and Father. Being still is not passive, but active. So what does it require? Above all, I have learned that it requires deep and steadfast prayer. Without prayer we have no hope of our hearts being aligned with the Lord’s. It is through prayer that the Lord brings peace, understanding, and comfort. It is in prayer that God invites us to dialogue with him about the deepest wrestlings of our hearts. It is in my times of presenting my thoughts, worries, and desires to God that he has shown me that the path we are led along is usually never quick or easy. It always takes way longer than we think it should, and things are almost always more difficult than we would like them to be. It is in prayer that God has shown me that He often picks the long way for His children to travel along, but time and time again, He has shown me it is never the wrong way. We read “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10), many times and yet, we still choose to calm our worries by clinging on to the false gods around us; our jobs, money, friends, family, and the affirmation and acceptance of others. Remaining still is not a simple task and I wonder if it is not the waiting, but the silence that seems so daunting. Yet aren’t we promised that God will be with us to the end of the age? The times God has required me to be still, silent, and wait have proven to be the most difficult and uncomfortable periods of my life, but Elisabeth Elliot puts it this way, “I realized that the deepest spiritual lessons are not learned by His letting us have our way in the end, but His making us wait, bearing with us in love and patience until we are able to honestly pray what He taught His disciples to pray, Thy will be done.” I can’t help but cling to the beauty that Jesus has chosen to bear with us in love and patience. While life might be filled with uncertain situations, we do not have to bear them alone.

As we seek to be still we must be willing to be split, broken, and die to many little deaths. We have to say no to the temptation to run to anything else in our path that might replace God as our Lord. However here is the hope: it is through prayer, through bearing uncertainty that we that taste freedom, and eventually that freedom translates into being able to walk in peace, light, and joy. It is in this where the words of “Be Thou My Vision” come true. In the midst of uncertainty, through prayer, I have seen God become my best thought, His presence is my light and my wisdom, and above all He is my vision.

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