The church sign was convicting me as I left after the Sunday morning worship service a couple of weeks ago. It was Mother’s Day, a bittersweet occasion for many, including me, and I was complaining to God about how much I had to do.
“This is supposed to be a day of rest, Lord! And I have to go here, and see them, and do that! It’s just too much! I can’t do it all.” Then I cranked my car, and began making my way to the next assignment to check off my list. That’s when God responded in bold black letters. ‘If Satan can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy.’ Wow. He literally gave me a sign. He must have really wanted my attention to impress upon me the need to “Be still.”
There was a cause for my reliance on my to do list instead of God. I was using the activities to distract me from the bitter-sweetness of the day. Instead of facing my feelings and turning them over to God, I was using my angst to push me forward through the activities that had to be done. The result was a very quick burnout and feeling overwhelmed. The bitterness surrounding the day stems from years of infertility and failed adoption attempts. After my husband Rodney’s sudden death three years ago, I focused on recovering from my grief and making sure my aging parents and in laws were okay. Mother’s Day was just one of those days I had to survive, like my wedding anniversary, or Rodney’s birthday. God has been faithful throughout my sorrow and my healing to gently remind me who He is, and who I am in Him. This day was another example of His faithfulness.
“Be still and know that I am God.” – Psalm 46:10
It is believed by some that King David wrote Psalm 46 after he defeated the enemies of the Israelites, giving God the glory for the defeat. The beginning of the Psalm is filled with such awesome imagery of God’s might and power. For example, in verse 6 David writes, “He uttered His voice, the earth melted.” Even among all of these majestic comparisons and descriptions, we are reminded to ‘be still, and know that I am God’ in verse 10, because He is with us, He is our refuge.
The Hebrew meaning of “be still” is “to surrender”. We must surrender our will in order to know His: to meditate on Him – His holiness, His sovereignty, and His limitless grace. When we are able to surrender, then He reminds us who He is. He uses our weakness for His glory, but we have to be still. There is nothing on earth that can defeat us while we rest in Him.
Trying to accomplish anything in our own strength separates us from His will. But, by being still – surrendering our will – He aligns our hearts with His. Our desires are changed to His desires for us. Our strength is renewed because He is now glorified in our weakness, and He gets His rightful glory for anything we do.
I was reminded that it wasn’t the tasks that made me feel too busy. It wouldn’t have mattered if I had 2 or 20 things to do that day. I tried to do it all in my strength, and not His. That is what caused my anxiety and stress. I was taking on the burden of “busyness” and leaving God’s grace behind while I tried to take care of everything myself. I was left with my own weakness, and none of His power. It was only in the surrender that I felt the anxiety quietly replaced with resolve and peace. I was able to accomplish what needed to be done, and my activity was accompanied with joy instead of dread. Thank you, Father for reminding me who You are, and who I am in You.
Tanya Nelson is a freelance writer and guest blogger for Crossroads Play Therapy. As a young widow, she frequently uses her personal experiences with grief to share God’s promises of healing and restoration. Tanya believes the purpose of her writing is to point others toward discovering the nature of God through His Word. It is her desire that readers will come to understand that God provides all we need to heal and live victoriously.