Tag Archives: be still

Awake or asleep?



We never know exactly when we fall asleep at night. At some point we close our eyes to the world. Our heart rate slows down and our body temperature decreases. Reality fades away as we enter a world of dreams. In a deep sleep we may even get out of bed and not be aware of our activities.


Falling asleep spiritually follows a similar pattern. We become tired of living with purpose and close our eyes to our true calling. Apathy sets in and compromising situations start to take on more appeal. We think to ourselves, “It can’t be bad if it makes me so happy.” If we don’t wake up to our senses we will find our spiritual temperature lowering. What used to be a burning passion for God’s ways cools to a lukewarm condition. And this dangerous coolness allows us to slip into a deeper trance-like sleep where reality blurs into a foggy road where we easily lose our way. Like Samson of old, we allow the Delilah’s of our age to lull us to sleep.  From an outsider’s perspective we may look the same, but inside we find ourselves drifting further and further from our purposed path.


The good news is that just as living in compromise makes us drowsy to God’s calling, so does His Spirit consistently urge us to wake up. There are numerous practical ways to stay spiritually ‘awake.’

  • Examine yourself as David did. “Search me O God. Know my heart.”
  • Be accountable to someone in whom you can trust to be honest about your struggles.
  • Stay grounded in God’s Word. Beyond rote memorization, earnestly seek to apply wisdom practically to your life.
  • Rest! Really rest. An effective method of not falling asleep at inappropriate times is to rest when you need to. Jesus is calling you: “Come to me all of you who are weary, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)  Cease striving. Be still. Know that He is God. (Psalm 46:10) Remain intently in Jesus. Your accomplishments mean nothing without Him.  (John 15:4)


“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41



Starved for solitude

“We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and privacy, and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship.” CS Lewis, The Weight of Glory

My first thought in reading this quote is just the opposite; how much we need each other. I found this to be so true in the first nine months of leukemia treatment. Suddenly pulled from my normal routine of vibrant interactions with dozens of people daily, I found months of relative solitude to be a rather ‘painful’ experience. In fact, Lewis does address this earlier in his message. “We are forbidden to neglect the assembling of ourselves together. We are members of one another.” The Christian experience, without the building of true community is an oxymoron. We are meant for one another.

But what is it about our soul that leaves it starved also for solitude and meditation? We live in a world that makes constant demands for our attention. A steady flow of never-ending electronic beeps calls us to tasks, appointments, and endless access to news, social information, and status updates.

God designed us not only for activity, but also for stillness. “He MAKES me lie down in green pastures.” (Psalm 23) He prompts us: “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) “Meditate on (His Word) day and night so that you may be careful to do everything in it…to be prosperous and successful.” (Joshua 1:8-9) The psalmist writes, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14)

Probably, the busier we are in our current season of life, the more we need to take time to find an oasis throughout the day where we can find restoration and peace. Reformer Martin Luther commented, “Work, work, from morning until late at night. In fact, I have so much to do that I shall have to spend the first three hours in prayer!”

Imagine going for days without any food or water. Soon you will discover the depleting effects from lack of nourishment: weakness, lack of productivity, confusion, irritability. The more you work, without replenishing your resources, the less you will accomplish. The less you accomplish, the more you will be tempted to work harder and longer. But it will not satisfy. The vicious downward spiral always works against us.

Meditation and prayer nourishes our soul. They lift us out of the depths of despair, refresh our perspective, and lead us on the path to wisdom and understanding, to peace, and renewed strength. God describes it like lifting us as on the wings of eagles! (Psalm 91)

The truth is we need both the solitude of meditation and the true friendship and community with others. We cheat ourselves when we neglect one or the other. I hope you will intentionally pursue both of these today. It is the path of experiencing God’s best for you.

Life Is A Jigsaw Puzzle

And God knows where each piece is supposed to go.

Do you know that we all hold pieces of each others‘ puzzle? And have you ever wondered whose pieces you’re holding and who in the world has your missing pieces? How would you ever find them?

There is a way to know, although I’ll tell you it may require a life journey and adventure. A good starting place always is to slow down; actually stop from your busyness. If you are not willing to develop this daily habit you will never find all the puzzle pieces you are longing to find. (And others will never find the pieces you are holding onto because you are too busy to notice.) Take time each day and throughout the day to cultivate “being still.” God wants you to be complete and whole, in health and in sickness, when you have some money in the bank and when the bills stack high, when everyone gets along and when there are tensions, in good times and in bad.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

Take your focus off your to-do list, your struggles, and your worries. Find a quiet place and talk with God in a conversational way as you would with a close friend. Ask Him to reveal who He wants to bring across your path today. He may reveal the answer as you pray. Or He may reveal it spontaneously to you later in the day. I almost walked away from such a God-provided opportunity at the grocery store a few days ago. An acquaintance was sharing their struggles while we waited in the checkout lane. When we finished talking, I turned to put my items on the checkout counter. But feeling God’s nudge, I turned back and asked the person, “Could I pray with you about this situation?”

  • One prayer: One minute of my day
  • Tears of appreciation: Will be embedded in my memory for a long time
  • The power of God to work the next step in this person’s life: PRICELESS

Whose puzzle piece do you hold today? As it becomes more and more of a habit to give away your ‘extra’ pieces, you will discover some of your own puzzle pieces along the journey. Learn to expect the unexpected and in time you will find yourself more and more sensitive to the world around you.

A Time To Run – A Time To Be Still

We just realized that I’ve completed my first “Leukemia Marathon” here at Mercy Hospital, over 26.2 miles. And it only took me 30 days to finish the job, one very slow quarter-mile at a time! 🙂

The second round of chemo is more exhausting than the first, I suppose because my body didn’t have opportunity to really bounce back before getting knocked down again. Some days are made for resting, not ‘running.’

Knowing how tired I’ve been getting, one of my dear nurses gave me a huge mug with just the message I needed for today:

Be still and know that I am God. – Psalm 46:10

This has long been one of my favorite verses and one of great encouragement. It reminds me that God is more than enough when I stop striving and just be still before Him. Resting does not come easy to me, in fact it often fights against my nature. But God’s solution for us often does go against our nature.

Don’t we all have areas of our lives where we just need to be still before God?