When life is hard, how do you respond? Do you turn away from God, isolate yourself and try to push through? Or do you lean into God and pray as if your life depends on it? Maybe you fall somewhere in between like I do. Recently, while praying, God answers with an unexpected phrase. As I’ve wrestled with God over the hard things and difficult situations He has
annoyingly consistently answered, “Be still.” Today we will see how to respond when God says be still.
What Does It Mean When God Says Be Still?
It is no secret to those around the Montgomery family, that life has been hard in recent years. Hard. It feels like one hard thing is followed by another hard thing so consistently that I have forgotten what rest feels like.
- Marriage struggles
- A Special Needs child
- Normal parenting challenges
- Health concerns
- Scary diagnosis
- Financial hardships
- Addiction leading hard boundaries
- Family drama
Hard. Through it all, God has been pushing me to rely on Him more, trust Him more, and let go of my need to control things. Of course, I never listen or do things the easy way so He had to knock me down to get my attention in this season.
How Do You Know if God is Trying to Tell You Something?
Honestly, how do you know when it is God telling you something? For years I would get a feeling while doing Bible study. That feeling said I was doing too much, burning out for God. But I rationalized it away as some kind of fear or failure.
Other times a sermon would hit me hard and I would feel like I should step out of an area where I was working. But then I would feel guilty for leaving others to do what I could do to help so I would ignore the feeling.
Once, during a conference, it felt like the speaker was staring me down when she said, “Busyness was not holiness. The devil often uses busyness to keep us from our relationship with God.” I had chills. But everyone I knew was busy. Also, I ‘knew’ I was worthless apart from my service, so I must have misunderstood.
God uses lots of things to try to tell us things. In my life, I have even seen Him be heavy-handed, for which I am eternally thankful since I am thick-headed!
Sometimes people say God knocked them down and it is a metaphor, but He literally knocked me down with sickness and fatigue so intense I spent most days in bed. In that place, I could control nothing, do nothing and be nothing (or so it seemed). Still, God said, “Be still and know me more.”
When God says be still, what does that mean? I took my questions to Him and He has been gracious to answer them.
Related Post: Powerful War Room Prayers for Spiritual Battle
A Conversation About Stillness With God
The conversation with God went something like this.
“God, You have taken everything away from me. I am still. What else do You want?”
“Lord, I can’t serve anywhere, I can’t take care of my house, I can’t even stay awake all day to care for my children. I am still. Is this really what You want from my life?”
“Father, I am nothing, I have nothing left. I feel worthless, hopeless, ashamed that I can offer You nothing, my family nothing, my husband nothing, the church nothing. This can’t be what You mean by stillness…”
“I formed you in the inward parts and wove you together in your mother’s womb. You are something. I made your frame in secret, skillfully as My eye saw your unformed substance. You are worth something. All your days are written in My book. You are not done yet. I have searched you and I know your heart. You are seeking approval from others where you should seek it of Me. You are busy and anxious about religious things while what I want is for you to be still and know me, walking in a deeper relationship with ME. Be still.”
Questions About Stillness With God
As God laid my soul bare with Psalm 139 that morning I wept. He was right of course, I have a natural tendency toward people-pleasing and working for the approval of men. The most alive I feel is when I am serving others to the point that they feel I am indispensable. In fact, much of my life has been spent feeling worthless, useless, and unlovable unless I am serving others full out leaving nothing of myself behind.
God had been trying to tell me, for years, that He loves me and that love is unconditional – not dependant on how hard I serve Him. He has been trying to tell me I have worth because I am His daughter, not because I am on so many committees or in so many ministries.
I just couldn’t believe it… the lies I had believed all my life, things said by others and things I had thought up all by myself said the opposite.
God said I could be still and He would still love me. I could be still and He still saw value in my life. That left me with a lot of questions.
- What does it mean when God says to be still?
- What does it mean for something to be still?
- How do you sit still with God?
- How can I be still and wait on the Lord?
- What God says about being still?
- What does being still mean?
- When God says no what’s next?
- What does God say about waiting?
- And one of my favorites: when God says yes who can say no?
When God Says Be Still What Does That Mean?
Because God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, He has already given us detailed instructions for life. When God says, “Be still,” you can search out, “Be still and know that I am God Scripture,” in the Bible just like we did together.
We have spent the last 29 days digging deeper to understand stillness with God. This is something I am continually reminding myself. What does it mean when God says to be still? Here is part of the be still meaning we have learned so far:
- Stop complaining because the Lord will fight for you. (Exodus 14:14)
- Rest in His faithfulness. (1 Kings 22:3)
- Spend time remembering how God has blessed you. (Psalm 4:4)
- Rest in God’s ability to provide and praise Him. (Psalm 23:1-2)
- Be content in God’s plan. (Psalm 37:7)
- Let God control your life. (Psalm 46:10)
- Know He will answer you. (Psalm 83:1)
- Worship Him. (Psalm 84:4)
- Resting in His control. (Psalm 107:29)
- Mourn when change is hard. (Isaiah 23:2)
- Trust God’s heart while you wait on justice. (Jeremiah 47:6)
- Follow Jesus’ example to be still and know God. (Mark 4:39)
How Can I Be Still and Wait On The Lord?
Through every verse on being still a consistent theme grew.
- When God says stay still it requires a greater faith.
Can we be honest with each other? Fear is what keeps us from being still and walking out our faith in God most of the time.
There are some hard questions to answer as we learn to be still and know God. There are some real fears that come when you consider handing over control to God as He basically says, “Be still and let God work this out.”
Remember The Benefits of Walking With The Lord
Throughout those 13 days, we saw that our faith grows when we know the characteristics of God.
One by one God worked through a decluttering process in my mind. There was fear cluttered all over the place. Fears I never realized were there. How about you?
We saw that God addressed the issue of fear when the Lord says to be still. We can fight the fear when we remember the benefits of walking with the Lord
There are days I repeat the benefits over and over…
- The Lord will fight for you.
- You can rest in His faithfulness.
- He will prepare you for facing the next real needs and chaos.
- You can rest in God’s ability to provide.
- Be content in God’s plan for your life.
- Your life is a witness to the lost world.
- He will answer you.
- God will meet you in that place.
- Resting in His control.
- It will bring healing.
- The fear of the Lord is like nothing else.
- God’s heart is always for you
Respond Instead of Reacting
Overcoming fear is about finding ways to respond instead of reacting to the challenging situations in life.
Overcoming fear is not about learning how to control your feelings. God is okay with our feelings because God has feelings. Overcoming fear is about my response to fear.
- If I react to fear I will withdraw, turn from God, and fight for control. The situation will probably turn bad quickly (I have a track record for messing things up as a control freak).
- If I will respond to the fear by being still with God, surrendering control, and trusting Him, the situation will work out well in the end.
Will hard times still come? Yes. But if we listen we will hear God calling us to a deeper faith. God’s blessings are on the other side of that faith growth spurt.
Ask The Right Question
My questions tend to be, “How to” questions. I want to ask, “How should a Christian act when being still?” The problem is, I know that is the wrong approach. Being still is not really about how we act. Isn’t that crazy? Don’t get me wrong, actions will change over time, but they are not the point.
Many times, being still is about doing less, stepping back from things, saying, “No,” to things, and creating space in our lives to focus on the Lord. So asking what we should do or how we should ask puts the focus in the wrong place.
No, our response to God’s pleading for us to be still has to be a different question altogether. Not a what do we do question, but a how do we respond to God question.
How to Respond When God Says to Be Still
Responding to God’s call to stillness is both simple and challenging. When God says to be still we must stop and listen. It is critical to evaluate our lives to see if there are areas where are controlling or seeking the approval of others and step back where God says step back. Then we must know Him more, abiding in Him more fully.
We need to ask, “How does God want me to respond?”
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment”
The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:36-38 NASB)
God’s Will For Your Life
Do you know God’s will for your life? It is simple and yet so complicated.
Love God. Love others. The specifics of what that looks like in your life will be different than my life but the general pieces are the same.
How do you love God with all your heart, soul, and mind? Trust Him and obey Him.
How can I trust God? What am I obeying God?
The phrase that repeated over and over as I’ve asked God these questions is:
To know what to do you must abide in Me.
So as we end our time learning how to be still before God and know God we will ask God to explain the phrase, ‘Abide in me’.
Learning to Be Still Leads to Learning to Abide in Christ:
Some of the questions we will answer in this final section of our 40 day fast are:
- What does abide mean?
- What is the Biblical definition of abide?
- How do you abide in God’s word?
- What are the benefits of abiding in the Lord?
- Where does the Bible say abide in Me?
The source for learning how to abide in Christ will be John 15.
“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.
If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” (John 15:1-11 NASB)
We will spend our last 10 days unpacking how to abide in Christ to be still and know God! Feel free to use this time for be still and know that I am God meditations as you lean into God.
Related Post: Knowing God as a Loving Father
A Prayer To Trust and Obey As We Abide In Christ
This has been a journey. Learning how to be still before God has gone so much deeper than I expected. I give You all the glory. Thank You for speaking to so many of my fears. I praise You for being faithful and trustworthy. As I lean in I am trusting You.
Show me how to obey You in this place of being still. I still want a to-do list but I imagine that’s not what abiding has in store either. Take this life, teach me what you want and mold me more and more into Your image Lord. I’ll give you the praise and glory.
Do You Know How To Respond When God Says Be Still?
Is God saying this to you? Has He been whispering or has he flat knocked you down to get your attention? When God says be still He is asking for our attention. Listen closely. This 40-day fast is one way to create space to hear His voice.
Are you asking Him to speak truth and shine light into your life?
He longs to show you areas where you are not still, areas where you are in control rather than Him, areas where you refuse to trust Him or obey Him.
Are you giving Him this time with open hands, willing to give up anything, surrender everything to Him?
He longs to have all of your heart, all of your mind, all of your soul. If you would allow Him true Lordship He would vanquish every fear, fill in every area with peace and joy and show you love like you have always dreamed.
As we step into this last section and see what it means to truly abide in Christ, will you listen more and say yes?
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