“Be still and know that I am God..” Psalm 46:10. The first scripture that I memorized in children’s church when I was about 6 years old. It is one scripture I have never forgotten. It’s the one instruction that has been in the back of my mind for years, and I’m finally submitting to it. I recently wrote about how I’m currently in a season of waiting on God which also includes me being still (you can read that post here). But can I be honest and tell yall that it has been hard and overwhelming at times? I am writing this post to encourage anyone else that may be facing similar convictions and to keep myself encouraged in the process.
“Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act…” Psalm 37:7
I cried today, briefly. I’m not sure if it was because I forfeited the control of moving when I want to move and felt powerless or if it was because things didn’t turn out how I wanted when I did give up that control. Either way, it can be hard to watch things go “wrong” and feel like you could have done more to change what happened. I stood there, staring out the window, watching an opportunity pass me by, and I wanted so badly to yell out to it “come back!” I wanted to run to it and embrace it; do whatever I could to make it mine. But instead, I gently tapped the window pane – a sound that couldn’t be heard on the outside – and just like that, that opportunity was gone. To be still requires us to sacrifice control and trust that God will make the pieces fall into place perfectly.
I’ve always been the type to go after what I want. I tend to take matters into my own hands rather than allowing God to be God. I move ahead of God’s timing; I create my own plans and do what I want to carry them out; I tell God what I’m planning and hope He blesses it; I push until I hurt myself…and each time I reflect over those situations, I’m able to pinpoint exactly where I should have stopped. What I seem to keep ignoring is that God does not need my help writing my story! I remember about 4 years ago, I read the book Lady in Waiting: Becoming God’s Best While Waiting for Mr. Right by Jackie Kendall & Debby Jones (a book I recommend for all single women) and it changed my life. There was a section in the book that described what it means to “manipulate & maneuver” and why we shouldn’t do it. Essentially, manipulating and maneuvering is when you go out of your way to make certain things happen. As I read it, I felt a conviction that has been with me since, but I still haven’t conquered it. When I do find myself manipulating and maneuvering, I am now far more self-aware than I was before I read that book.
This has been a battle for some time now and I’m finally to a place in my relationship with God where I’m ready to stop and listen to Him. I grew tired of doing things my way because my way has failed me. My current situation revealed to me that I lack faith in this particular area of my life. While I feel like I trust God wholeheartedly, my actions have said something different. While God was telling me “wait, not yet”, I was still pressing forward. I’m learning to stop waiting until things get bad to put my trust in God, but to instead do what He says from the beginning. I’ve become ready to surrender my plans for His will.
Though I’m still not perfect, I’ve put forth so much effort these past 6 weeks to be obedient. No one ever said trusting God would be easy. What the Bible does say is to:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6.
See, the thing about God is that He wants to blow our minds, we just have to step back and give Him room to do so. He might tell us to do something that seems contrary to what we believe to be right, but that’s where faith comes in. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1. We may not know exactly what God is doing in our lives, but what we do know is that He has plans to prosper us, not harm us; He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all we could ever ask for or think of; and that all things work together for the good of those who love Him (Jeremiah 29:11; Ephesians 3:20; Romans 8:28). We can’t see the future and we’ll waste a great deal of energy trying to read God’s mind. Instead, we need to trust what His word says and allow it keep us grounded. When we trust Him, seek Him first and we’re obedient, we’re able to see Him move in extraordinary ways.
Quick testimony: About two weeks ago, I witnessed God go above and beyond in such a seemingly small way. I was struggling internally with being still but I was determined to persevere. I prayed for a sign that He was still in the midst of this particular situation. I don’t pray for signs often because being the manipulate and maneuver type that I am (not a manipulator in a toxic way, just in a move when I’m not supposed to move way), I would likely believe everything is a sign. But this day, I felt the need for an answer or some form connection – anything. Long story short, over the course of the following 2 days, He didn’t give me just one sign, He gave me six. These interactions were far greater than I was hoping for. I was content and beyond grateful for the first sign. He showed Himself so vividly and all I could do was rejoice in the name of Jesus.
It’s moments like these that remind me that God is still with me and He hears my prayers. I have no doubt. It is also likely that I’ve missed many opportunities to experience His goodness because I’ve been too busy trying to live by my own agenda. The moral of the story is that while being still may be challenging, it will be worth it in the end. We must keep an open line of communication with God, stay in our word, and trust the process. When God see’s us doing out part (which in this case means doing nothing), He’ll come through on His end, and once He has His way with our surrendered situations, He will get all of the glory!
So although I cried today as my opportunity walked passed, I spoke out through the tears, saying things like “God knows what He’s doing,” “have your way,” and “I trust you.” I know that despite how it feels in the moment, the delayed gratification will exceed anything I could have ever imagined. “A hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12