I'm going to be honest; I don't talk about my faith often. Faith, to me, is a messy subject. Everyone has faith. You wouldn't have gotten up this morning if you didn't. Some people have faith in God. Some people have faith in themselves. Some people have faith in the universe. Some people have faith in nature. Some people have faith in other gods. You get the picture. But, the common denominator in all of this is "faith." Faith transcends life styles, beliefs, race, gender, class; however, the degree and definition may vary among us.
Psalms 46:10 says, "Be still and know that I am God."
If you're not religious, please don't stop reading yet. I am an English person, so sometimes I think of the Bible in a non-conventional way. I look at it as a book. A book that, like other books, has themes. A book that needs to be explored and analyzed in a way that is not always literal. So, let's look at it like this: if you're religious, let's leave God as God. If you're not religious, let God represent whatever you have faith in.
Regardless of how you feel about "God" being in that sentence, I think the most important part of that verse is "Be still." What does that mean? Do I sit in my chair and stare at my computer and hope someone brings me lunch? (That wasn't that funny was it? Dad joke status.) What does it look like to "be still"? I'm going to be completely transparent and say that I haven't been good at being still. I haven't been still professionally. I want to be where I want to be right now. I haven't been still medically. I JUST WANT TO KNOW WHAT'S WRONG. I haven't been still as a mother. I want my son's actions to change immediately.
My best friend sent me some pages from a book she was reading about a woman who struggled with a chronic illness. After one exceptionally bad flare, she decided she wasn't going to worry anymore. She wasn't going to exhaust herself running from doctor to doctor only to hear the same frustrating phrases over and over. She decided to "be still." Her story resonated with me.
Yet, I'm rationally frantic in that I understand that there's a fine line between being still and being negligent. The story worked out for that woman. Eventually, after making peace with her health, she was able to find someone to help her. However, the realist in me thinks about the possibility that you could "be still" while something serious destroys your life.
To continue my Bible quoting, Ecclesiastes 3:7 says, "A time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak." I know what you're thinking, "That's cute, Emily. But, you still haven't told me how to know when to be still." I think this verse from Ecclesiastes exposes some truth about timing. I think it's all about "listening." And, in order to listen, we have to be still anyways. Next time you're feeling frantic about a job or your health or your children, stop for a second. Don't open a browser on your phone to search for more jobs or a new doctor or parenting advice. Don't start yelling. Don't start crying. Don't call your mom. Just stop. Stop and listen. Listen to your fear and anxiety. If there is something you can truthfully do to fix it right now, do it. For example, if your child has a splinter, obviously, Google how to remove it safely and effectively and do it. However, if there are more moving parts than a small piece of wood in someone's hand, if there are parts that are out of your control, be still for a bit. Keep working in your current job. Keep consistently punishing and praising your children.
From a practical perspective, being still for a period of time will perform a factory reset. It will bring you back to who you were before you were frantic and anxious. Sometimes the noise is so loud that we can't hear the real problem. Have faith in the process, and be still for a bit.