Practice Being Still
“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”Exodus 14:14
Just after they escaped from Egypt, Moses encouraged the Israelites with those words. Perhaps he understood that our natural reaction in moments of uncertainty is to restlessly bounce between anxiety and despair.
Feelings of uncertainty can result in the prefrontal cortex in your brain “shutting down”: impairing your ability to solve problems, pay attention, and stay flexible. This increases your chances of engaging in irrational behavior and makes you more prone to anxiety, depression, and stress.
That’s why it’s important to fix your mind on what matters by centering your heart on God’s truths. Stillness is a discipline that takes continual, conscious practice, but the act of stillness sharpens our senses and makes us more aware of God’s presence in our present circumstances.
So, how do you practice being still? One practical way is by walking through the 3 action steps discussed this week:
- Acknowledge your limitations: Spend a couple of minutes paying attention to what you’re feeling, and name those emotions. Give yourself permission to not feel okay. This process helps break the cycle of intrusive, anxious thoughts, and helps your brain start to think through new ways to handle uncertain situations.
- Lay down your expectations: What’s currently causing you to feel anxious or afraid? Visualize putting those concerns into a box, and then give that box over to God. Ask Him to replace your worries with reminders of His promises. (You may have to repeat this process several times before you feel ready to move on.)
- Pick up God’s declarations: Spend at least 5 minutes pouring over God’s promises. Imagine putting them on like clothing, and ask God to show you which ones He wants you to focus on that day. (Some days, it may seem like God has a lot to say, and other days, it may feel like God is quiet. Both are normal, natural fluctuations in healthy relationships.)
Whatever you face in the weeks ahead, remember that nothing you experience is uncertain to God. He was at work in your past, He’s here in your present, and He holds your future. Hold fast to His promises and trust that He is good.
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.James 4:13-14
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the chariots with fire.
“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!
”The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.Psalm 46:9-11
The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”Exodus 14:14