Stillness appeals to busy people like you. Yet it may sound threatening, doesn’t it? Dr. Donna Hart, PhD., a biblical counselor and speaker, shares how to incorporate this vital spiritual discipline in your life. Her article appeared first here and is used with permission.
Stillness as a spiritual discipline before God can be appealing and a bit threatening. And stillness suggests a way of being before the Lord that might seem a bit alien to us.
We go through our weeks with our minds occupied by all we have to do. Our thoughts are so set on the to-do list that over time it seems like a sign of the good life. It has become a mark of success.
Ask someone how they are doing and instead of answering “Fine” they say, “Busy.” Therefore, someone who is not living a busy life must be living an unfulfilling and unsuccessful life. Do we think if we are busy it must be a sign that life is meaningful?
The Problem with Busyness
Any kind of stillness or solitude and silence does not seem realistic to our busy lifestyles. We have a great problem in the midst of the busyness. We go through our days on autopilot like sleep walkers, unaware of God’s presence with us. And we do not recognize God in the ordinary events of life. So we miss God in the present world around us, in nature, and the people around us.
In our preoccupation with our busyness we don’t see the beauty of the trees as they bud new life, and the sound of the birds in the morning, or the smell of fresh baking bread as we walk past the bakery. Our senses have become dull in our preoccupation.
C. S. Lewis, in his book Prayer Letters to Malcolm, he says to us that, “We may ignore, but we can nowhere evade the presence of God. The world is crowded with Him. He walks everywhere incognito, and incognito is not always hard to penetrate. The real labor is to remember, to attend. In fact, to come awake. Still more, to remain awake.”
The spiritual discipline of stillness is to become awake and attentive. It is stepping away from our to-do list and busyness to allow God to transform our awareness. It is allowing the Holy Spirit to cultivate an inner stillness of heart that persists even when our lives are challenged with busyness. This enables us to face challenges having focus and passion while living attuned to God.
How to Develop Stillness
How do we develop a still heart? It begins by practicing attentiveness in the ordinary course of the day.
We start by consciously making space for the present moment and for life as it is. If we are not present to the moment, we cannot be present to God. God is incognito, hidden from us, but at the same time, close to us, and at the heart of our lives. We begin to see God more clearly as we pay close attention to the insignificant signs of his presence.
Being aware and awake to the moment is at the core of being able to see God clearly. Our sense of seeing can become empty and void of passion. We look but don’t seem to perceive the depth of things. Jesus taught us to be alert.
Therefore be alert, because you don’t know either the day or the hour. (Matthew 25:13).
He also taught us that when our spiritual eyes are healthy then our whole body is filled with light (Luke 11:34).
Open Your Eyes
Are we blind to the grandeur of all God has created and unaware of God’s presence in our lives? Be alert to God’s presence and action in the midst of your daily life. Also watch for Him in all the little moments of your day allowing His subtle interruptions draw you into a closer relationship with Him.
And always, prayerfully ask God to help you to discern His presence with you in the little moments