This image popped up in my Facebook feed and stopped me in my tracks.
The thing about grace is that it doesn’t require any striving from me. I’ve always been a doer, a fixer, a let’s-just-get-it-done overachiever. Sometimes grace doesn’t fit my mold. Sometimes it asks me to wait. Other times, it says to be still. It absolutely cannot be earned.
You see, grace is one of those mysteries that I have accepted, but it doesn’t come naturally to me. As I was taking my morning walk this morning, it occurred to me just how hard it is to BE STILL, accept grace, and to give myself some grace. Now many of you who know me are probably thinking, she can sit for hours and crochet, knit, and read (all in order to avoid housework), but physically being still isn’t what God is referring to when he says to Be Still. He’s referring to taking our hands off of it, to leave off our own attempts. The Hebrew word for “be still” is rapha. According to Strong’s Concordance, it occurs 46 times in 45 verses in the Old Testament. On 46 occasions, God reminds his children to take their hands off of it, stop trying to do it themselves. BE STILL and KNOW that He is God and He will do what He said He would do!
Now, back to grace. I used to consider myself a runner. I LOVED running. It helped to clear my mind. It helped to keep me physically fit. It helped to control genetically acquired disease. It was my go-to workout. I loved entering races so that I always had a goal to be working toward. I completed several half-marathons, some 10Ks and lots of 5Ks. Running just did my mind and body good. Somewhere among traveling to China, adoption, moving to a new location, and life, I stopped running. I tried. I really did. But I didn’t have my dirt roads, my solace of living in the country. There were suddenly cars and people EVERYWHERE. I could no longer focus on the run. I could no longer hear God. All I could hear were cars and people. It affected my mind and I succumbed to the anxiety. I stopped running. I didn’t give myself grace to choose a different form of exercise. I didn’t give myself grace to slow down. I didn’t accept grace in the form of whatever God had to give as I did my best for the “race” that was currently set before me. I was too used to trying to earn it. It was running or nothing.
It just doesn’t work that way!
Fast forward to today. I took my dog and went on a 3-mile walk. Boy! That was a hit to my ego. For the first mile, I was having a matter-of-fact discussion with God about how I USED to be able to run this route. Only “losers” would be walking right now .(Please don’t be offended if you’re a walker. I only put this kind of pressure on myself.) What are all of these people thinking as they see me walking and not running? (Yeah, I know. In reality, they’re not thinking anything, because they couldn’t care less what I’m doing ;))
Then I saw it. I really started to see my little town. I saw the architecture. I saw the curious little additions which people add to their front porch which reflects the lives inside. I saw the place where sidewalks used to be. I saw the place where life is lived all around me. I saw my little dog, who has been driving me nuts lately. I saw how he looked up at me for direction when he didn’t know which way to turn. Contrary to my husband’s thoughts about him, he wants to be obedient. (insert husband eye roll) I saw my neighbors who also walk early on Saturday mornings. (who knew?) I saw the inspiration to write and create. I saw the beauty around me. It was there all along. I just had to BE STILL to see it.
I have no doubt that God forces us to be still sometimes. We get so caught up in day-to-day life that we forget to look for the beauty that He has provided all around us. We forget that HE’S GOT THIS. All we have to do is remove our hands from it and let Him do His thing. Walking instead of running helped me to see what has been right in front of me all this time. It wasn’t a punishment; it was a gift.
I know that a bazillion blog posts have been written on Psalm 46:10. It has, in the past, almost become cliché, and I hate clichés almost as much as I hate predictability and monotony. Every time that God forces me to be still, He shows me something new. Sometimes, it’s just seeing old things in a new way. My perspective is changed, and my spirit is renewed. I have renewed hope that with a whole bunch of grace along with a little grit, I will continue down this road called life and be able to see Him and extend that to others whom I meet along the way.
How have you seen or heard from God today? In what ways has he asked you to be still?