Greg's Weekly Word: "still"
Technically it's not my word. It's David Blondeau's "star word" that he talked about in our worship on Sunday (you can watch it here). But I've been thinking about it ever since.
When you think about still, maybe you think of the adjective, and something like this image comes to mind:
Or maybe you think of the noun:
But (as David pointed out) we're not talking about the noun, and not really even the adjective, but the verb - "be still," as in, "don't move," or "do nothing."
Of course, many of us have been doing nothing for almost a year now, unable to move freely to see family and friends, eat out in a restaurant, or travel. And by now, some of us are about to go crazy and might be ready to get the noun-version of the word!
David also reminded us that one of the best-known uses of this verb in the Bible is found in Psalm 46:
Be still, and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)
Of course, that is difficult for many of us. And I don't just say that from my own personal experience. Researchers found that when people were ordered to sit in a room and do nothing (i.e be still), they chose to give themselves electric shocks rather than pass the time in silence. Most people seem to prefer to do something rather than nothing, even if that something is unproductive or harmful.
Ironically, that is especially true in times of anxiety and uncertainty - when we don't have all the answers or we don't know how to move forward, or when a situation seems chaotic. Maybe because we think if we do something - anything! - we have some sense of control. And yet perhaps these are the times when we most need to be still, and to know (remember?) that we are not God.
Another way to translate the Hebrew command to "be still" in Psalm 46 is let go - "let go and know that I am God." To let go of our need for control. To let go of our expectations of how we think things are supposed to be. To let go of the grief and loss we can't seem to shake, or the ways we numb and protect ourselves from being hurt. To let go of our guilt. To let go of the fear that paralyzes us. To release our grip on whatever we are holding onto for dear life, so that the life God promises can take hold and we can discover not only what God would have us to do, but - perhaps more importantly - who God would have us be.
And as we are still - as we let go of what we are holding onto - we may just find that are being held by God, who will never let us go.
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)