Psalm 46:10. Be still and know that I am God (NIV). The key verse that any parent needs to read and quote more than any other.
There have been a number of times that, between the hours of 1:00 am and 6:00 am, I have found myself on the couch in the living room rocking a certain young man back to sleep. Or, more often than not, TRYING to rock him back to sleep. And, on more than one occasion, I have found myself constructing my own paraphrase of this verse: “Kid, if you’re not still, you may come to know God firsthand as you meet Him in heaven.” (No, I wouldn’t actually do anything to harm the little dickens; but find me ONE parent who hasn’t, in a moment of exasperation, at least comically entertained the notion of wanting to take their kid back to the hospital, with birth certificate in hand, and treat it like a Best Buy and ask to exchange for a newer modal, as this one is clearly broken…and you even have the original receipt to show proof of purchase.)
As with many things, when God slams a verse or passage like this into my noggin and won’t let it get out, I find that there is a greater reason for it. …more than just to saddle me with the refrain of an old Kim Hill song. And today, I think I’ve found two reasons:
REASON #1 – the “be still” bit. I told Ashley this morning that the reason I’ve been so on edge and agitated as of late is that I’ve not had any still moments. That every day (using today as a template) consists of me going at full-steam once I get out of bed. Between taking care of Kai, taking care of Maggie, trying to find time for the two of us as a couple to remember what each others’ face looks like…the fleeting moments of “me” time are so few and far between, and I will readily admit that I need those moments of alone time in order to recalibrate myself. It’s just that (a) when I find them, they’re eaten up by other needed activities, and (b) sometimes, I’m just so stinkin’ worn out, that my “being still” winds up “being comatose” in front of the television. I need to breathe, and stop being the earthquake, the rushing wind, and the uber-husband/father sometimes and just..be…and let that still, small voice echo loudly into my soul.
REASON #2 – the “know that he is God” bit. Sometimes I have to ask myself: do I know? Do I trust? Do I inherently believe and have faith and God knows the plans for my life? Or do I spend too much mental energy conceiving of every possible scenario for my life, worrying about the path my life will go down. If I have the faith claim to have, why do I doubt? Worry? Question? Get angry? Get frustrated? Get depressed? Why can I not simply think about the future without getting all antsy or “yeah, well – no one will ever hire me for [fill in the blank] because [fill in the blank with my own sense of self-defeatist anxiety].” What do I know (and just for kicks, try saying that out loud, inflecting each word separately, just like I do)? Will I bear fruit in my season?
Maybe I should just take the “advice” I give to Kai and give it to myself: be still. And know. Be still and stop racing about as if the fate of the world rested on your shoulders. Be still and allow yourself to catch your breath. Be still and focus on something other than what just came in from Netflix. Be still. And liten.
Know that He is God. Know that there is a plan for your life, and that if you’ve learned ANYTHING from the past two decades, that plan will take a shape that it completely in a different form from anything you planned or thought out. Know that what you’re supposed to do with your life – you will do it. It may not seem fair or even just when breaks come to others. It may not be that your career (so to speak) should, in fact, look like anyone else’s. It may not be that you are supposed to do what you keep throwing yourself at like so much Silly Putty, hoping to stick against something.
And maybe – just maybe – you should go beyond putting these words down on paper, and act in faith on what they say, knowing that you didn’t really write them in the first place, but that God used them to speak a lesson to you.
Be still and know.
But first: go refill your coffee cup.