Text: Psalm 46:11
Be still, then, and know that I am God; [NRSV]
Context: I tried to sit still for one whole minute and couldn’t
Have you ever tried to sit completely still? Well let me tell you, it is freaking hard.
If you have never tried it before, I dare you to try sitting COMPLETELY still for one whole minute.
Set a timer.
60 whole seconds.
Try it now.
Ok have you failed yet?
I made it approximately 20 seconds before I started typing this instead. Isn’t that telling? I would rather type out a devo post on my blog about sitting still than actually practice sitting still. I imagine you are the same way.
When you tried it, did you bounce your legs? Itch your nose? Pick at your fingernails? Did your mind trail off to what you would be eating for dinner?
Why can’t we sit still?
I think it’s partly because we were not made to sit still. Sitting still for too long is a bad thing. We become inactive and sluggish. On the opposite extreme though, always going and never sitting still is equally problematic.
And I think attempting to sit still for one whole minute is a good spiritual practice.
When we force ourselves to sit still in meditative silence for even just one minute we are recharging our batteries in a special way. We are recalibrating our hearts to love better because we are taking our hands off of the world for a brief moment.
We tend to think the world is within our control – We can determine our own destinies.
And sometimes on some things maybe we can. But not on everything.
Haven’t you known of someone who made all the right career choices, moral decisions, investments, and then died of a heart attack a month before they were set to retire and enjoy it all?
We have some control over some stuff, but we do not have control over everything.
When we force ourselves to sit still and just be for a moment we are reminded of a subversive truth of scripture: we are human beings not human doings.
There is something more to us than what we do, accomplish, or work towards. There is some irreducible something about all of us – and I really mean ALL of us – that no one and nothing can take away.
Sitting still for a minute is a way of acknowledging that.
But that’s a tough pill to swallow. It is an affront to our ego. And so when we try to sit for a minute we squirm and twitch and bounce our legs and resist it in our hearts. Our minds run wild with anxiety: Shouldn’t I be doing something right now? I have just wasted one whole perfectly good minute on nothing!!
But here’s some good news: even if you can’t sit still for one whole minute and accept that you are God’s beloved…. it is true anyway!
So try it again. And when you fail again try it another time after that.
Sit still for one whole minute and rest in the truth that God is trying his darndest to get across to you: you are loved and there is grace.