Stillness + Focus = Abundance
Once upon a time there was a girl named Sherry who was always, and I mean always, busy. The thing is, she was busy with a lot of not-so-important stuff. She resented anything that got in her way and often said “no” to the important and “yes” to the unimportant. Then one day, God woke her up from the fog of self serving tasks she was performing and said, “I have more planned for you.”
Slowly, she started to listen and take some time to think and pray about her yes or no answers to things in life. She asked God for for direction, started being still in the morning, and asking God to bless her day before she planned it out. As she practiced this, she noticed a certain peace in life she had not felt before. Was it because the drama of drinking and hangovers was not prevalent in life anymore? Somewhat, but there was more.
She started practicing obedience to what God was calling her to: loving others through the good and the bad, the loud and the quiet, the difficult and the easy, the simple and the complicated. Out of this practice, divine appointments showed up often and Sherry, still being sinful in nature, didn't always listen but tried to pay more attention.
When the devil wanted to distract her, he enticed her with things of the world. She soon found out she needed to abstain (abstinence) from some of them in order to stay on God's path. The devil tried to draw her out of her “right” way of thinking and worked hard to complicate her day. Side tracking her with things, time wasters, and clutter. He was trying to make life crazy instead of simple (simplicity.)
She spent some time studying and honing up on this new way of life. Then, God showed her the next step of discipline: Stillness. This practice was easier because she had already been practicing the first two disciplines of Abstinence and Simplicity.
The stiller she was, the closer she felt to God. She felt his presence throughout her day in all she did. When life started to get a little crazy and she felt herself going for the detour, the easy way, she sat in stillness for a moment with God.
Then there were the moments of unchosen stillness. Moments like holding Otto while he slept. Kissing his forehead while he sleeps and praying for God to heal him. Praying for cousin #3 to arrive safely. Protection and safety for his big brother, Landon (because he is part monkey.) Listening and talking to God was easy in those quiet hours. (Yes, hours because when you are holding a sleeping baby you have license to do nothing for as long as he sleeps.)
Other times it wasn’t so easy - that is when she set the timer for 5 minutes of listening to God. Hard for someone who struggles with quieting her mind in the first place. Hard for someone who used to reach for a bottle when life became still. She was scared of still. Slowly, but surely it started to improve. It was helping her to feel more fulfilled in everyday tasks. Helping to live in obedience. The positive far outweighed the negative. The time being still was never a waste.
Sonic Flood wrote a great song about sitting in the stillness with God:
In the secret, in the quiet place
In the stillness You are there
In the secret, in the quiet hour
I wait only for You
'Cause, I want to know You more
I want to know You, I want to hear Your voice
I want to know You more, I want to touch You
I want to see Your face, I want to know You more
I am reaching for the highest goal
That I might receive the prize
Pressing onward, pushing every hindrance
Aside, out of my way
'Cause, I want to know You more
Practicing these disciplines leads to an abundant life in Christ and causes the unnecessary noise of the world to fade into the background.
“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.” - Philippians 4:11-12
All of this talk of being still brought back a childhood memory. Growing up Sherry was constantly being told, “For heaven's sake, would you please sit still!”
“Okay, I will.”
Be still and Peace on your weekend,