My current Ipod screen is a scripture. I’m not one of those people who put scriptures as their screensaver. Neither do I stick ugly fish on the bumper of my car/moto. That's just not me.
So therefore when I’ve actually got a screenshot of a scripture it means something big. The one that is currently sitting as my background is Exodus 14:14 – The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.
I tried to learn how to meditate once. I ended spending the whole time thinking about how terrible I was at meditation. Same with silence, sometimes I crave it but only if it’s in conjunction with just enough busyness to drown out anything my head may be trying to tell me.
One time I challenged myself because I realised how bad I was at silence and stillness. I decided that I would have no radio in my car. At the time I was driving about 1.5-2 hours a day. I really wasn’t at all prepared for the challenge.
I hated it.
It was horrible.
Sometimes I would even roll down my window and bask in the sounds of traffic just to drown out the endless noise of silence.
So often I would actually end up in tears somewhere during the drive. And then I felt all self-conscious about the people in the cars next to me staring at me weeping alone in my car. Strange that I never used to feel self-conscious about people watching me sing and dance along to the radio (I know you all do it too. Stop judging me.).
At the same time as it being stupidly challenging, I learnt so much about myself. I confronted things in myself that I had distracted with noise and busyness, and life. And stuck in traffic, not moving, with no sound, there was nowhere I could run.
I had to face myself. Scary moment.
I realised that I spend my life on the run. Running from myself, my fears, my past, others’ expectations. But somehow I end up running around in circles, not realising I’m tangling myself like a dog who’s done an obstacle course with their chain during the night, ending up with about 2cm of length left.
I was scared of myself. I was scared of God. I was scared of letting go.
And so as far as I have come from then, being still is still a challenge. It doesn’t come naturally to me.
I grew up a lot of my life thinking that the way to ‘perfect my faith’ was to strive to be better, do better, pray better, work better, look better. It was continual striving and pushing myself to become the perfect Christian. On the outside I looked like I was doing pretty well at it. For a while I did great, I felt great. And then it all came crashing down.
I still looked like I was doing well but on the inside I was dying. I was sick of failing my ridiculously high expectations. I hated that I wasn’t perfect. In reality I was pretty much trying to be God and couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t succeed at it.
Being still, to me, is one of the most faithful expressions of trust in God. Working for Him is easy, it takes time, skills, finances. But being still takes trust. It means giving up our control and giving that control over to Him. For me, being still is the scariest thing I can do.
In saying that, being still is where I encounter God. It is where I listen, rather than spend the whole time speaking. It is there that it becomes a real relationship.
I love in friendships getting to the point where you are comfortable enough with each other to just sit there in silence and not feel awkward. That is when I know I’ve found a true friend, a friend who I am ‘me’ with. With those friends I don’t feel the need to act or please or be something. With those friends I can just be me and that’s ok.
That’s what I want with God. That’s what I’m beginning to have with God. But at the same time I get all nervous and start freaking out and trying to take back control and do and do and do. Somehow I feel that doing it myself I might get it down better and faster than God. It’s like I don’t trust God to do it right unless I’m there to micromanage him. It sounds so stupid in reflection, but I know that there are so many of us who operate this way.
Stillness. That is what I crave. And somehow in going after it, I don’t need to work towards getting it right. I can just let it be. I don’t have to be perfect or good at stillness. I just need to be still; to allow myself to be still. To let God be God. To trust. To surrender.