Sadly, for many of us life is all about doing. We plot, we plan, we rush from one meeting or activity to the next as we try to cram as many things into each day as possible before falling into bed at night totally exhausted.
Christians are certainly not exempt from this way of life. We just add spiritual activity to our To Do Lists:
- going to church
- serving on church committees
- reading our Bible
- doing our daily devotions
- helping the needy.
But even spiritual activity can hinder us in our relationship with our Creator. We can become so busy doing things for God that we never actually spend time with God.
Imagine being so consumed with doing things for our spouse—cleaning the house, preparing their meals, washing their car, buying them gifts—that we didn't have time to actually be with them. I think you’d agree that’s not a way to build a marriage. Yet for many of us that is precisely what our “relationship” with God looks like.
The Devil deceives us into thinking that our good, Christ-like activity brings us closer to God. Pastor and author John Ortberg once said, “If the Devil can’t make you bad he’ll make you busy.”
Our Heavenly Father has a different strategy to help us draw closer to Him. He simply says, Be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10, NIV). Not get busy. But be still. Stop what you’re doing. Put away the To Do List. Silence your electronic devices. Dispose of all distractions. Just. Be. Still.
I remember being in a church leadership meeting where the pastor had just come back from a spiritual retreat in which he had a sweet time of practicing the presence of God. Still glowing from the experience he asked the leaders, “When was the last time you got alone with God where you weren’t reading the Bible or even praying, but were just spending time with the Heavenly Father?”
The sound of crickets suggested that there wasn’t a first time they had done that. It’s not that they weren’t good people. They were dedicated to God. They were hard workers in the church. But while they were active in doing things for God they were alarmingly passive in terms simply being with God.
Many people today are frightened by stillness. One reason is we have grown accustomed to being in busy, noisy environments. We are bombarded daily by words and noises from our ipads and ipods, our blue tooths and blue rays, our PCs and MP-3s. Sometimes we even hear sounds emanating from real people. When we have become comfortable surrounding ourselves with constant noise the sound of silence can be scary.
Some of us are so task-oriented that we feel guilty just being still. We see idleness as a waste of valuable time. We tell ourselves we must stay busy; we’ve got to be productive.
But here’s the stark reality: When we equate stillness with laziness and wear busyness like a badge of honor we miss out on the rest for our souls that is necessary for our relationship with God to grow deeper.
Our Heavenly Father longs for us to simply spend time with Him; to bask in His presence; to glory in His embrace; to wallow in His grace. To simply allow Him to love us for who we are—His beloved children.
So if you truly want to grow closer to Him, at the top of your To Do List write the words TIME ALONE WITH GOD. Find a place to meet with Him. Permit Him to lead you beside still waters so you can find rest for your soul.