There are days it seems like I have a thousand things in my mind, one of which I’m lucky to make it from my head onto paper. I’ve been trying to add more stillness to my life and I’ll admit, it’s been a struggle.
Thanks to Abby Lewis, author of Living Still, I’m learning that stillness doesn’t look the same for everyone. When I first started reading her book, I just assumed you had to close your eyes, lie there in silence and try to keep your thoughts from spinning. Lying in silence usually isn’t my thing, so I thought I was doing something wrong. Nope.
Stillness is different for everyone.
I enjoy it driving in the car listening to music, or journaling. Sometimes I enjoy it while I’m working out. Being still with God doesn’t necessarily mean “being still.” Sigh of relief. I feel better already.
The other day on my way to an appointment, I had some time to kill. There’s this little country church in Branson, Missouri that was built in the 1920′s. Sycamore Log Church is a small, one room building built from, you guessed it, Sycamore logs. They still have church services there today. Though I’ve never been to an actual service, I’ve visited the quiet place nestled in the Ozark woods on several occasions.
I was seeking some stillness with God and I thought that would be the perfect place. I walked into the little log church and sat down on the pew. I wasn’t sure what to say to God. Honestly, I was waiting for him to tell me all that I was doing wrong and how disappointed he was in me.
For some reason I’ve been super hard on myself lately. I haven’t given myself much grace in anything, especially my health. Since writing this eBook, my expectations of myself have increased. I’m not sure why. The need for perfection perhaps. I’ve even had friends point out I need to chill out on beating myself up. I’m trying. Actually, I think that’s where the problem is.
I’m trying to do it myself without God’s help.
I sat in the tiny pew and waited for God to give it to me. I was amazed at the words he gave me.
I love you with an everlasting love, Sundi Jo. Keep going. Stop trying so hard.”
That was it? I was waiting for a list of things I had done wrong. Instead, I got grace. Undeserved favor. Love beyond my wildest imagination. It was like a load was taken off my shoulders. I was waiting for God to shake his finger at me and tell me to “get it together.” It wasn’t him shaking his finger at me. I was doing it to myself.
How can we expect God to have grace for us if we don’t give it to ourselves?
After he spoke that gentle truth to me, I looked around, realizing I was being still with God. It was just me and him. I picked up a hymnal, stood in this tiny church, and sang at the top of my lungs to Jesus. Surprisingly, he didn’t clamp my mouth shut, even though I probably sounded like a clarinet out of tune. I didn’t care what I sounded like at that moment. I just wanted to sing to God.
30 minutes later I shut the door on that tiny church and drove to my appointment with the assurance that I was doing better than I thought I was.
What about you? How do you find stillness with God? Comment below…
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About Sundi Jo
I'm a speaker and author. My new book, Dear Dad, is a memoir of gritty redemption, offering hope to the broken. I love flip flops, Dolly Parton, and often dream of being a "Chopped" chef. Find me on Twitter (@sundijo).