Wednesday, June 22, 2011
The hardest 8 words
At night, tucking in my little guy is often a long process. Settling into bed takes a long time for him. His limbs are constantly in motion. Kicking, wiggling, tossing, playing. He can barely focus on my goodnight words, much less find his way toward sleep.
To lead him toward rest, I play this game. Usually, after we've played this one. I start always at the toes, placing my hand as softly as I can on them. I whisper, "Be still, little toes." Then, "Be still, little legs. Be still, little knees..." gently placing my hand on each joint and limb. He loves me to quietly command them to be still. And each part obeys.
We end with stilling his eyes, and his thoughts, as I softly touch his face and head. If I forget a part, he wiggles it exaggeratedly so I'll notice. So I'll give the command, and it can finally come to a rest. He doesn't have a hard time with the idea of going to bed. He just struggles to find rest on his own, once he's in his bed.
Today, I realized how much I am like him. The other day, I read of one woman's heart on how saying "Yes" to God is the hardest thing, that ultimate submission of one's life to His leadership. For me, it was not so. I was always a rule-follower. I took pleasure in making the good choice, and since I was in church from day one, following God came more or less naturally.
But obeying these 8 little words is a whole different story:
"Be still, and know that I am God."
The words are almost too familiar. They must be read slowly, a couple of times. I recognized today how restless my heart can be, like a little boy, wiggling in bed for far too long. I don't fight the Lord's leadership, but at times, it is very difficult for me to rest in the Lord on my own. For me, that resting comes down to living like He doesn't need my help.
I act like God needs my help sometimes in my anxiety. Or in my planning. In my ruminating on past conversations and what was said. In my hastiness. In my preoccupation with managing my relationships. In my reliance on my own understanding, and my failure to consult His. In my prayerlessness.
There are two life-changing commands in this short verse, both quite difficult. Both whispered, as Jesus places His hand on our restless hearts and minds. "Be still," and "Know."
"Be still" is a command of stopping. Ceasing to move, to juggle. The thoughts and movements in one's spirit come to rest, and the eyes of the heart open to hear and see Him clearly. And "Know" is a command to agree. When I know that He is God, I am agreeing with my whole being that I am not. Knowing is an act of the will.
I'm so thankful I have help in finding rest. I have a good Father. He sits next to me and whispers, "Be still, little heart. Be still, little mind. Be still, little hands and feet. Close your eyes. Rest in me. And know that I am God."
Lord, may I remember to practice daily the stopping and the willful agreement that You are God, You are at work, and You do not need my help. Amen.