Be Still and Know

Are you so caught up in being busy that you don't hear what God is trying to tell you? Maybe it's time to be still...

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Woman being still, with eyes closed. Thinkstock.

One of the great things about being a writer is that I can work in a variety of places. Shucks, I even get to work in my pajamas on many occasions!

Sometimes I actually sit in my office to work. Other times you’ll find me sacked out on the couch in my family room, at the table in my dining room, or holding down a spot in my mobile office at Atlanta Bread Company.

But, today, I’m in my favorite office, the place where I most love to write–outside on my deck. After a long dreary winter, it’s extra special to be out here. The birds are singing and the wind chimes from my neighbor’s house up on the hill add to the peacefulness.

I love everything about it–except the big-mouthed crow that disturbs the stillness from time to time, and those slithery lizards…especially the one who almost fell in my lap when it took a nosedive off the roof awhile back. You’d be impressed with how fast this old girl can move when the need arises!

Since our house is surrounded by woods on three sides, it’s like having my own private retreat. The sun warms my back and toes, and a soft breeze keeps me from being too hot.

Sometimes you’ll find me out there typing away at the black iron table by the birdfeeder. At other times you’ll find me curled up on the porch swing as I think through ideas and storylines. (Yeah, try explaining to your family that you’re working while you do that.)

But what I think I love best about working out here is that I feel God’s presence in a special way while I’m enjoying his beautiful creation. That’s important to me because I want Him to shine through everything I write.

Michelle's deck, her favorite place to write.

As a writer, it’s essential for me to learn about grammar, spelling, punctuation and other things that are vital for the craft of writing, but I’ve learned that the most crucial thing I can do is to ask Him what He wants me to write and to listen to Him when He speaks to me.

You know, we’re often so busy that God is the last part of our day–or we ignore Him completely. Or we’re so caught up in things that we don’t hear Him when He tries to speak to us. Yes, I’ve been guilty of that on many occasions–and I suspect I’m not alone.

So that’s why I love to have “be still” time as part of my day–especially when I’m out on my deck. I like to start with praise music and Bible study, and then I set my timer for a period of “be still” time when I can tell God, “I’m here sitting at your feet and I want to hear what You have to say to me.”

I’m a slow learner so I’ll have to admit it took me a week or two to learn to shut up so I could listen to Him. But, oh my, the sweetness that has come from those times! Days when I’d feel His presence in a special way and times when I felt like I’d been wrapped in a heavenly bear hug.

One of the most precious moments occurred over one of my book projects. I’d struggled for months with that one. I couldn’t figure out how to fit the content together–or even what content to include. I’d worked on it, agonized over it and quit working on it because I was so frustrated.

But during one of those “be still” times, it was like God opened the floodgates, and the complete skeleton for the book came together in literally minutes. I couldn’t write it down fast enough. I can’t help but wonder if God shook His head that day and said, “I would have given it to you a lot sooner if you’d have just shut up and listened.”

Sweet friends, I don’t know what you do for a living, but I do know that everything we do is better when God’s touch is on it. Are you struggling to know how to handle a situation? Are you frustrated over something? Are you perplexed about what to do next?

Then I want to challenge you to incorporate a “be still” time into your life–even if it’s just one day or a couple of days a week. I think you’ll discover what I did: It’s a lot easier to hear Him when we shut up and listen.

"Be still, and know that I am God…" (Psalm 46:10)

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