Stillness. Rare and little esteemed in today’s culture; yet it whispers an invitation to hear the voice of eternity. Bidding us come away and walk with Jesus; Lent provides the ideal setting for stillness. Calling us to the solitary way of Jesus in his journey to the Cross. To follow we must slow our pace, quiet our minds and still our souls.
The greatest blessing connected with stillness is that we can hear eternity; we can hear the voice of the Eternal One as He speaks to our conscience.Ole Hallesby
Welcome to Mindfulness Monday! Where we learn some easy ways to be more present “in the moment” at our jobs, in our homes, with our families and friends.
Learning to recognize God and what He has for us in each divine moment He offers. We acknowledge the belief that God is with us always.
We confess His presence is available to us, lifting our spirit and helping us with power and grace. Learning the art of “stillness” so we can hear His voice and view ourselves, others and our surroundings through His eyes.
an invitation for practicing the art of stillness
The art of practicing stillness, literally offers us an invitation to hear the voice of eternity; or more to the point: creates space for hearing the Eternal One. An elusive art in the busyness culture surrounding us, the practice of stillness requires a determined pursuit.
The tenor of our days weaves its way into our soul, becoming our identity. Leaning towards the fulfillment wrought by accomplishment, we bow to the god of schedule, commitment, and perceived responsibilities. Finding only anxiety, defeat, and discontent, the unhappy fruit of our days.
But what if we broke free from the bully of busyness, noise, and striving; and instead pursued the quiet respite of stillness? What if instead of pushing through the next thing, we simply listened? What might we hear?
an invitation to still the storm
Recently, a heavy burden of restlessness, turmoil, and anxiety enveloped my heart. Nothing “new” occurred; no unexpected trouble or trial; yet inside a unidentifable storm raged. Sitting with God in my quiet time, I poured out my heart, seeking clarity and relief.
The passage in Mark 4:36-41 immediately came to mind. The story of Jesus in a ship with his disciples crossing over the Sea of Galilee. Jesus falls asleep and a storm arises threatening to capsize the ship: the disciples wake him fearing for their lives.
Though a familiar series of God led hard paths, the sudden prominence of my inner storm confused me.
Still puzzled, leaning in deeper, I examined my heart, finding what I thought was acceptance of God’s chosen path for me was in actuality a lack of faith bound by fear.
Like the disciples, I doubted his Word. Having clearly stated “Let us cross over to the other side” (Mark 4:35), Jesus rested. Yet when the storm came, doubting his word, fear overtook the disciples.
The words of Mark 4:39-40 echoed through my mind.
“And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?”
Two words lingered in my heart: fear and surrender.
an invitation to embrace the wilderness
The sudden swirling of the existent storms resulted when I ceased trusting God with the outcome. Instead of trusting him along the hard path, I questioned the direction, became overwhelmed with the unending pain, and fell prey to fear.
While God commands the storms of life to still, he first beckons our souls to still and trust; for surrendering to his way, defeats fear.
Surrendering to God’s way requires stillness. When the storms swirl, busyness pushes and the temptation for hurry presses in; STOP, STILL. Because God invites you into a wilderness where quiet ministers to your soul. Where in the stillness, you hear his voice, his will.
In the midst of the storm, noise of the day, and relentless demands, you no longer hear his voice. You begin trusting in your own way, thrashing about for your desired outcomes. Until exhausted like the disciples, you finally come to Jesus seeking the stillness your soul craves.
be still and hear the voice of eternity
During Lent we can choose adding times of stillness to our day, nurturing our reliance on God’s all sufficient grace. Instead of continuing to strive, push or control outcomes, if we stop and quiet our hearts before God, we reinforce our trust in him as God, relinquishing our control.
Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him;Psalm 37:7
Sitting quietly and waiting upon him, we cultivate listening for his gentle voice of peace, clarity and strength. We learn to rest rather than react, we grow in trusting his way over our way.
let go and listen for his voice
Mindfulness in essence is practicing the art of stillness. Practicing mindfulness in this way, not only shifts my perspective from self-sufficiency to God-dependency, but nourishes my soul with the living Word of God. Try this easy mindfulness meditation using Psalm 46:10 for practicing the art of stillness.
As with all mindfulness practices, making a calm transition from the atmosphere of busyness and activity to the atmosphere of stillness enhances the practice. Without a transition, your brain and central nervous system remain on the continuum of activity. I highly recommend a five minute Mindful Check In for making a smooth transition. It’s a simple, easy, delightful way for beginning any mindfulness technique; full instructions HERE.
Maintain mindful breathing; keep your exhale longer than your inhale. For example, inhale for a count of four, exhale slowly for a count of eight.
- Either outloud or silently to yourself, pray “Be still and know that I am God.”
- Take one or two slow, even breaths. Pray, “Be still and know that I am.”
- Take one or two slow, even breaths, Pray, “Be still and know.”
- Continuing with one or two slow, even breaths, Pray, “Be still.”
- Continuing with one or two slow, even breaths, Pray, “Be.”
- Inhale deeply, exhaling through your mouth. Pray “Amen”
an invitation to step aside into stillness
This Lent as you consider a slower, deliberate pace with Jesus, what can you release to embrace stillness instead?
Stillness provides the food your soul needs to defy the world’s hurried pace and seek a fast from noise, demands, and performance. Rewarding you with deeper rest in God’s sovereign Way. Knowing as you still before Him, you rest safe from every storm.
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Joyful Life Magazine is full of great articles, home inspiration and recipes! Check out this link for a sneek peek and to order your copy today!