By: Lauren Taylor
I don’t like sitting still. You can normally find me in movement – pacing, or walking quickly from task to task. I’ve been this way for as long as I can remember; I can remember plenty of classmates getting annoyed at my bouncing legs in the middle of class.
The trouble is, my innate aversion to stillness isn’t just physical. When first trying to explain what my anxiety feels like, I remember telling my now-husband, “I just don’t feel settled.” Sure enough, there are still days where there are butterflies in my stomach or a pair of invisible hands gripping my chest.
This week, I ran across a new idea that caught my attention. According to Lysa Terkeurst’s book, Uninvited, the greek word for “terror” means “to put in motion which should be still”. The longer I thought about it, the more I decided this was true of my own experience. How often does my fear set in motion thoughts, feelings, and actions that should never have been there in the first place? I will be the first to tell you, I shouldn’t be allowed to make decisions when I am anxious. Many harsh words have been said, too much food has been eaten, and possessions have been bought under the banner of “anxiety”. One thing is for sure, anxiety does not lead to wise choices.
Perhaps stillness is the way to go. I’m reminded of a passage in Psalms – “He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10). I used to think of this verse as being a bit flowery, but in actuality, it’s a command. My pastor went as far to say that this verse is a military command. “Be still” could be translated as “stop fighting”. That doesn’t sound quite as flowery, it’s actually quite convicting.
The Bible is filled with verses that support the idea of the LORD fighting for us. Stillness also seems to be a continual theme. One such verse is found in Exodus: “The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still” (Exodus 14:14). There’s that command again — stillness.
As one (anxious) woman to another, let’s just say it like it is: stillness doesn’t always seem to be an option. I bet you could think of 3 things in your life that make you feel a little unsettled. Unfortunately, this command doesn’t seem to have any loopholes. And here is the hard and holy truth of it: the only way to stillness is through surrender.
“Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you” (1 Peter 5:7).
Giving requires purposeful surrender. Other versions use the word “cast” which has the idea of forcefully throwing your worries to God. (Who doesn’t want to throw things when you are worried?)
Maybe the only way we can pause our fear, is by pausing our lives.
I have had an unsteady relationship with quiet times. Unsurprisingly, I like quietness about as much as I like stillness. Throw in some Bible study, prayer time, and possibly some journaling, and my time with the LORD sometimes seems a bit too much to handle. The truth is, though, there is a stillness that I only experience after laying bare my soul before the LORD. Reminding my mind of His truth and praying (surrendering) my fears is medicine for my unsettled nature. This isn’t just a nice platitude, either. Philippians affirms this in chapter 4: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4: 6-7).
This promise helps push me to pause. It is only in this space where we can draw near to the One who desires to fight our battles, give us peace (John 14:27), and give us life (John 10:10).
May we all pause long enough to draw closer to our Savior.
Lauren is a wife, teacher, and writer. She enjoys traveling with her husband, baking, and participating in women’s ministry. Learn more about her and follow her ministry on her website Light to Our Paths.
A Note from Kirsten Elsa:
Lauren, your sweet heart and encouraging words are so meaningful to me, and I pray they sink deep with the readers of this blog. Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing your experience! I think we can all use a bit more stillness in our lives.
If you’re interested in sharing a guest post on KirstenElsa.com please contact me for more information.