Our world is noisy. There are so many things vying for our attention and demanding our focus. So much so, that in many ways we have given up our ability to focus. Instead we check our phones to see what we might have missed and what everyone else is doing.
At times it feels like a slower-paced existence is a thing of the past. How could anyone lead an unhurried life in our fast-paced culture? There are just too many demands on our time. So much to be done and not enough time. Yet Jesus led an unhurried life even though His days were full of demands and high needs from so many people.
So how do we put the brakes on the craziness around us to connect with the Father the way Jesus did?
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me, and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” – Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)
He doesn’t want us to live frantic, exhausted lives. He offers a better way. We don’t have to live like the world around us.
“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” – Luke 5:16
He understands that we need help doing this. When we pull away from the noise of the world to connect with Him, we will discover that He offers us exactly what we need for all that we face. When we let busyness crowd out the time to connect with Him, we become overwhelmed at dealing with the life before us.
How do we make space in our lives for this kind of connection with the Lord and how do we learn to be still?
1) Practice being still. We aren’t good at this. We struggle with putting our phones away and saying no to other things so we can simply practice “being.” It takes practice. Start with 5 minutes a day and gradually increase the time.
2) Learn to listen. Communication with our Father is not one-sided. We need to develop the ability to listen for His voice. He is communicating with us, but we need to develop our ability to listen.
3) Quiet the noise around you. That might mean unplugging from your phone and computer for a few hours or a few days. Or it might look like clearing your whole afternoon and finding a quiet place without distractions. It will take intention though to create the space for quiet. It is amazing what we can actually hear when the noises around us and within us go quiet.
4) Express gratitude. At first we may find the quiet difficult. If silence is uncomfortable, turn to gratitude. Reflect on who God is and not just what He has done for you.
5) Enjoy nature. Spending time in nature has an amazing way of drawing us close to the heart of our Father. He created the world around us to glorify Him and to bring us pleasure. Going on a leisurely stroll alone simply to enjoy nature and be with Him can be a sacred experience.
6) Allow yourself to rest. It seems as a whole we are busier than ever, and we sleep less than ever. Our bodies need sleep and our minds need rest. God gave us rest as a gift. He rested after Creation and created Sabbath for us. Making rest a priority is God-honoring.
7) Schedule solitude. We make time for what is important to us. Putting a time for solitude in your calendar may seem crazy at first. It feels unproductive but making time for all that solitude can bring, is extremely wise.
Giving your soul the space to be quiet before the Lord, enjoy creation, express gratitude, and lean in and listen brings great reward. We can grow and heal when we give Him space to speak to us and when we give ourselves space to listen and process what He is telling us. It takes intention and practice, but it can be life changing.
What is one way you can intentionally be still with the Lord this week?