That sounded really…deep…and spiritual…and it honestly eased my spirit, but I didn’t really know what it meant in a practical sense. So, in true Valencia fashion, I gave it some time…and asked for clarification/confirmation. God began to remind me that every time I’d asked Him about a specific situation, it was in what I called drive by prayer. I’d toss it in this list of requests, get up, & go about my day. It’s the equivalent to me sitting down in front of you, saying ‘tell me what you think about this situation’, spilling out every detail of this mysterious situation, and then walking away. It wasn’t until I sat down, until I stilled myself, that I finally got instruction. I don’t want to project my specific brand of chaos on you, but…could the same be true for you?
We live in a fast world. Every commercial seems to be talking about how fast the latest computer, phone, internet service, etc. is. We value speed…highly. Speed allows us to either get things quickly, so that we can move to the next objective, OR it allows us to multitask. Don’t know the answer? Head on over to Google, and see what the rest of the world says the answer is. Oh! You need to know the answer AND pull up a movie?! That’s why we have tabs and background apps. Don’t get me wrong, that’s all well & good. Nobody is walking into the T-Mobile, AT&T, etc. store & saying ‘can you give me a phone that takes its precious time sending texts, and can only have 1 app open at a time?’. However, it becomes dangerous when we apply the expectations of our technology & our society to our relationship with God. Through Him, I’ve learned that some things just take time.
Over the past year or so, I’ve learned that law school takes time (a LOT of time). Throughout my life, I’ve learned that growth & healing take time. There are some things, like good food, that only reach their highest potential when you give them time & your complete attention. I believe that God is one of those “things”. He can, and He does, move with you throughout your busy day. He helps you manage the madness, strengthens you, etc., but if you reallllly want something from God, you have to still yourself and focus on Him & Him alone. Some answers only come in silence. Could it be that you haven't heard from Him in a while because you’ve been having drive by sessions with Him? Is it that He doesn’t want you to succeed? Or that you can’t pause your ‘grind’ to give Him your total attention? I think that sometimes, we just assume that He understands that we’re busy, and is just grateful that we bothered to talk to Him today. ‘God gets it, right? I mean…He gave me the job, the kids, the spouse, and then sent me back to school. I’m doing His will! So He knows that I can’t necessarily stop my life beyond Sunday morning service. It’s literally impossible….right?’ Wellllllllll….
I think that sometimes, we need to force ourselves to be still. Settle yourself. Shut the world off. Put the phone away (and set it to silent, not vibrate, silent). Shut down the computer. Cut off all distractions, and dare to give God your full attention. Take a risk & treat Him like He matters more than your schedule. Show Him that you value Him. I’d be willing to bet that you see a dramatic difference in yourself, your life, and your relationship with Him. I know I did. Not just in the chaos that prompted this post, but over and over again, I am reminded how important it is to make Him my ultimate priority. I can’t split my attention when it comes to Him….it never really works for me. For example, I pray every morning before I leave my house. I typically pour blessed oil on my hands (God & I have a thing…maybe I’ll disclose it later), and pray about my day, family, etc. while I’m walking around my house. Well, one day, I was running a little (lotta) late. So I put the oil in my hands & said I’d pray in the car. It eventually got done, but it wasn’t the same. I had too many distractions, like my morning playlist in the background, and all of these lovely…crazy driving citizens on the freeway. Therefore, my prayer was rather broken (“God thank you for this day…..are you going to let me over or nah?!….I realize that it wasn’t promised, and I don’t want to take it for granted. Please keep & cover my….please, jump in front of my car like you can't cause a wreck…mom. Put a smile on her fa…ok there’s traffic here, let me get over…on her face. We plead the blood of Jes…..YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME...Jesus”), and it took me quite a while to get through it. It was rougher because He wasn’t my sole focus. I didn’t set aside time to settle myself, and to really be with Him, so that day was a little…off. See, God will speak while we move, but sometimes, He just wants us to stop moving long enough to really take in what He has to say. If He’s your main focus, you’ll be His main focus.
The funny thing about this entire story is the fact that when God told me to be still & know that He was God, it felt terribly familiar. I knew it was a bible verse (Psalm 46:10), but that wasn’t it. It was the fact that I literally have that scripture on a wall in my bedroom (look at God working through decals). It’s been in my apartment since I moved in over a year ago, but it’s a little more impactful now, because I recognize the value in being still. (sidebar: sometimes, the answer is in your face...you're just taking it for granted)
So if I had to have “final words”, I’d encourage you to simply be still. Confused? Be still. Broken? Be still. Worried? Be still. Happy? Be still. Busy? Be still. Successful? Be still. Regardless of where you are in life, and how well (or nah) your life is, take time today to just….be still in His presence. Be planted. Don’t move. Don’t allow yourself to be shaken by society or your surroundings. Be still. Don’t make a move out of desperation or impatience. Be still. Don’t try to fix it without direction. Be still. Don’t get caught up in the schedules, and assignments, and..stuff that you lose your ability to be still. Don’t give in, & don’t give up. Be…still. It's not that He won't ever answer you; it may be that He wants you to be still. However, it’s not just important that you be still, it’s that you are still, and that you know that He is God. Never forget that He’s undefeated, or that His grace is sufficient & that His mercies are new every day. Know that He is the all-sufficient one, and that anything you need can be found in Him. Know that He’s got you covered in areas that you don’t even realize need to be protected. Know that He is the one that delivers, redeems, revives, & restores. Know that He’s God over your relationships, your school, your family, your job, and everything else that you’re connected to. Know that He is God over you. In the end, He’ll be exalted above all else. In the end, He’ll get the victory on your behalf. He’ll tell you where to go, when to get there, and how to win….if you stop…and be still.
Background Music: Full Attention - Jonathan McReynolds