Be Still and Know...

This past month I’ve been learning more about rest. As I wrote in the beginning of May, graduation brought with it the fear of the unknown. In the midst of this new season, I’ve put myself out there in new ways with my writing. Every week I’ve sat down and tried to put words to the things I’ve been learning.

I am not going to lie, writing has been a scary thing for me to venture into. But the ways that people have embraced it and joined me on this journey has been incredible. I started to venture into this space of blogging not fully knowing if people will read or respond. But I’ve seen God do something new in me as I’ve boldly stepped into this new season. I’ve also seen profound connections form with  people who are also on this journey. Fear isn’t as powerful when we recognize that we aren’t alone in the battle. 

This month I have learned a lot rest, routines, and the spiritual connection we form to the habits we create.

This month started with an extremely significant life change: graduation! I am officially done with school (at least for now). And with this change came a lot of unknowns. What am I doing with my future? I’ve been pretty good at school, so will I be good at working full-time? The fear of the unknown popped up all around me as I attempted to “rest.” 

In the second week of this month, I found myself lethargic and unsure how to rest. I was run down from the stress of finals and I found myself aimlessly scrolling through social media every day. I wasn’t sure what it looked like to rest in the unknown. And I soon realized that the ways in which I was trying to rest actually left me feeling worse and more anxious. As I navigated the new routine of restfulness, I learned 5 practical ways of resting effectively. And every day I tried to practice a few of these ideas in order to revitalize my mind and soul. 

As I tuned into my body even more, I took a critical look at my daily routines and how they were effecting my mindset throughout the day. It dawned on me that my morning routine was not setting a positive tone for the rest of my day. I decided to make a change to my morning routine this month. I decided to start each morning in a mindset of gratitude, allowing my mind to start with contentment rather than comparison. The change I have felt has been drastic. 

In the midst of all of this change, the fear of the unknown is still present but not as intimidating. I can’t say that if you make all of these changes at once, your anxiety of the unknown will disappear. But I can say that the habits you create for yourself will determine the mindset you will have. For example, if you create the habit of comparison, you are choosing to see the ways that you don’t measure up. But if you are creating habits that encourage gratitude, you will search for the places where you are content. 

In the midst of this month, I’ve met God in new ways. I’ve learned more about who I am and who He is in the midst of the chaos.  

A widely known and quoted verse in the Bible is Psalm 46:10. It says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” 

I’ve seen this verse on journals, tattoos, and on multiple signs in Hobby Lobby. 

But this month I’ve learned a new meaning in this verse. 

The first part says “Be still.” Another translation says “Cease striving.” What does it look like to be still and cease striving? It’s a choice that each of us get to encounter. We can either continue to strive and work. Or we can chose to rest. A decision to choose the opposite of continual worry and working. In the midst of a society that says you have to go go go, all of the time in order to be successful… What if we chose to rest, and chose to stop striving? 

The second half of this verse says to know that He is God. The Hebrew word for “know” is “yada’.” This word is also translated as “to know by experience.” This word is a verb; it is an action word. Therefore, when we know that He is God, we are experiencing the knowledge of who He is. It is an experiential knowledge of Him that comes through a relationship or a spiritual experience with the Divine. And it comes from resting, being still in the knowledge that He is God and He is with us.

These two phrases are interconnected. To be still and to know. Two choices. The decision to stop and to experience. 

But what does this look like in a society that tells us to keep striving?

The other day I decided to go for a walk. I was feeling a little sick and wanted to get out of the house. 

While I was walking, I was reflecting on this past month for me. I started this month full of fear and doubt. But I feel like I am ending this month with a new found joy and anticipation. I’m not saying that magically all of my anxiety has disappeared, nor do I think the fear of the unknown is no longer something I will deal with. In changing seasons of life, I think this fear will continually show up in different ways. 

Rather, I’ve felt my mindset shift. As I’ve learned more about resting in the knowledge of God’s presence. And as I’ve changed up my routines, I’ve felt myself begin to feel a peace that surpasses all understanding. A peace that comes only through the knowledge that in the midst of it all, He is with me.  

As I choose stillness, God reminds me that He is God and that He is with me.

Elyssa Schultheiss