He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;”
Anxiety lies to me and tells me I’m in danger. It gives me valid, obvious reasons to be afraid.
Mania lies to me and tells me I need to hurry up. It shows me all the things I’ll miss out on if I don’t jump now.
So, when God tells me to “Be still,” it sounds impossible and unreasonable. How can I be still when this terrible thing might happen? Or how can I be still when the world is moving so fast around me?
When I’m overwhelmed by my thoughts and feelings – when anxiety or mania seem to be winning the war in my mind – I know that I can run to God’s Word and find a safe place to hide.
I can be still, because the Lord fights for me.
Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
Pharaoh’s army was fully capable of slaughtering the Israelites, and they were trapped by the sea. God didn’t tell them to pretend the danger wasn’t there. He told them that He would take care of the danger.
When all my mind can focus on is what can go wrong, God doesn’t tell me to pretend that it won’t go wrong. He tells me that He will take care of whatever does go wrong.
I can be still, because it’s not my fight. When the world picks a fight with me, my big brother, Jesus, steps in between me and the world and wins the fight.
I can be still, because God is my fortress.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
The first nine verses of this psalm talk about catastrophic natural disasters and devastating wars. But I don’t have to be afraid because I’m protected.
So, when my mind can’t stop scrolling through all the news stories about wild fires and school shootings, I don’t have to give in to despair that if it happened to them, it could happen to me.
The psalmist says this twice: “The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” (v. 7 & 11)
I can be still because God is with me and I am safe. Whatever happens out there, I am not alone and I am protected.
I can be still, because the joy of the Lord is my strength.
Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
The Israelites were back in Jerusalem, after having been exiled in Babylon for 70 years. Ezra the priest read the Law to them, and many of them were weeping. They were extremely aware of their sin and of the amazing grace of God in giving them another chance.
When the perfectionist in me takes over, I become hyper focused on doing everything “right.” This feeds on my insecurities about wanting everyone to think I’m doing everything “right.”
So, when God shows me that what’s really happening is that I’m being driven by fear, then I become even more ashamed, because now I’m failing God, too.
But that’s not the point of His correction. “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
He’s not telling me I have to “do better.” He’s telling me that He knows I can’t do what He’s called me to do by myself. I need to concentrate more on His grace and praise Him for that. Because when I’m praising Him, I’m focusing on His strength rather than mine.
I can be still because He doesn’t expect me to be perfect. I can rest and trust that He is able to accomplish His Will through me, because it’s not about me.
How has God calmed and stilled you when you were anxious?
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