Stillness as a Form of Self-Preservation
I had a conversation with God shortly after my utter depletion a few months ago. I had been fighting a battle that wasn’t mine and He was adamant about reminding me of that. My complete exhaustion was the first reminder, His words were the second.
“I didn’t tell you to do any of that,” He declared as I ranted to Him about all I had done to get me out of the situation I (still) found myself in.
I was speaking to God as if He owed me a changed situation; as if my effort deserved to be rewarded with the end of this challenging season.
“I didn’t tell you to do any of that,” he proclaimed, reminding me that my desire to act was personal and not one of obedience.
See, God told me He has this, but I needed to make sure. Perhaps, I didn’t trust Him enough. Or, perhaps I simply wanted to be helpful. Whatever my reasoning — because I could come up with plenty — God didn’t ask for it. In fact, He asked me for the opposite: to get out of His way; to be still.
Sitting stagnant when life seems to be going haywire all around us is usually the last thing anyone wants to do. In the world we live in, feeling and being helpless isn’t ideal nor admired. But it’s important to recognize that stillness is not synonymous with stagnancy; a lot happens in the moments we sit still. In fact, it’s in the moments of stillness that God starts moving.
It’s in our ability to release and stop trying, that God has the freedom to rearrange and reassign. He can’t do it while we’re still holding on. He needs us out of the way, completely surrendered to His will and not our own. Sometimes He shakes us up to do that; He exhausts us so we can call on Him to replenish and resolve — other times He wishes we’d let go sooner so He wouldn’t have to.
Our constant desire to control, and do, and act, and prove is what makes us weary. We exert energy unnecessarily trying to solve problems that aren’t ours to address. Our desire to help God be God and show Him we deserve this depletes us. Our need to work ourselves to the bone for acceptance; our push for success; our desire to be acknowledged—it all leaves us exhausted. But when we stop acting in ways we don’t have the strength to, God can intervene. And in those moments when He’s in control, we can be replenished. We can stop driving ourselves crazy. We can stop running our own well dry. We can finally sit and just be, while God does the work we are not equipped for. After all, that is how He intended it to be.