Be still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)
Recently I was sitting on the beach completely alone, completely quiet, and it was like I couldn’t even hear myself. Do you ever experience that feeling? When your mind is so full and you’ve gone for so long without being truly still that your heart forgets how? I realized that those few hours on the beach was probably the most stillness I’ve had since before Finnley was born and man, I feel it. My heart has been noisy and if I’m being totally honest, I haven’t been the best version of myself. For me, the hardest part about becoming a mom hasn’t been missing my friends, or even my husband; It’s been that I miss myself. I know this sounds kind of weird, but without realizing that it was happening, I became so consumed with my new baby, my home, my new marriage dynamic… all of it and I just started to forget who I really am. I stopped making it a priority and quickly lost the ability to quiet my heart. To just be. With confidence, with joy, and real peace.
This doesn’t take a baby. It’s happened before. Stressful seasons in school, being a newlywed, job transitions, you name it. Change is hard and stillness isn’t natural. We try try try. At least I do. Every time! I feel my spirit getting heavy and distracted and tired and I try to fix it. Even with really great things like sermons, podcasts, and worship music. At some point it becomes about drowning out the quiet because it’s just too loud. You’ve probably heard people say that becoming a mom can make you have an identity crisis. I totally get why women feel this way, but for me it feels a little more like we’ve just lost touch a bit – Myself and I. Like when you and a friend get wrapped up in the business of life and forget to make time to catch up until eventually you’re not as close and your friendship has less depth. It doesn’t take long to feel this way when I forget to spend time by myself with the one who made me. Part of it is that I get too busy. Maybe part of it is that I’m afraid to strip it all down to who I really am just because He says I am. Maybe I’m even worried it won’t be enough for me or maybe I can’t accept that it’s really that simple: that I really can just be still. And in my attempt to sort it all out I amplify the noise and lose myself and little more.
Psalm 46:10 is quoted all the time. It’s good stuff, but my favorite part is actually a few verses up – “Come and see what the Lord has done.” God isn’t a dad saying, “be still because I said so.” He says, “be still because I’ve shown you.” He’s provided before. He’s answered when we cry. He’s given courage when there was fear, healing when there was sickness, power when there was timidity, joy when there was mourning, rest when there was worry. He’s done it before and He’ll do it again. And THAT is why we can be still and know.
If you’re hearts noisy too and stillness isn’t your thing, I encourage you to make a change. Don’t keep adding to the noise and hoping for silence. While we were away on our beach trip I committed to one walk a day without my phone and it’s amazing how impactful a little discipline and change of scenery can be. I was reminded that God is there waiting for me in the quiet. It’s almost like he said, “what have you been waiting for?!”
So here’s my 4 tips to quiet a noisy heart (because He’s waiting for you too!):
1. Get out! Of your house, out of your own head, out of your rut, out of town! Change up your scenery. I’m not saying you have to plan a trip. Sometimes it will be evening and I’ll realize I never saw the light of day. No wonder! Some fresh air will do you good and walking is surprisingly therapeutic. Exercise, explore… get out there and be reminded that the world is a big place, you’re small (and so are your problems – even the big ones), and God is bigger.
2. Turn it off! I CANNOT stress this enough and I am the worst offender. But again, we can’t turn the volume up and wonder why things are so loud. Turn it all off. Your social media, Netflix, even your own negative self talk. If this is really hard (and it is) replace it with scripture. It literally has the power to renew your mind. Take the power back from the voices of the world and make room for the one that matters.
3. Do something! The very best way I have ever gained perspective is by making it about anyone other than me. To stop thinking and start acting. Serve somewhere. Go out of your way to bless someone. Call a friend just to listen. Enjoy something just for fun. Do something you know you’re good at. Exercise a gift God has given you. Worship! Sometimes our feelings are our worst enemy and sometimes they’re even liars. Stop letting them hold you back and get movin’!
4. And last – Remember what the Lord has done. It’s one thing to read that God will comfort you, it’s another to remember a time He already has. You may be waiting on an answer or provision. Think about the ways He’s come through for you before. Stop worrying about circumstances (and potential circumstances) – it gets you nowhere but a dark mental place. Start recalling how He’s already answered and start believing He’ll be faithful again!
I don’t know what it is about a sleeping baby, but watching my son when he’s fallen asleep in my arms just does something to me. The calm is contagious. I think it’s because, somewhere along the way, we lose that ability to completely surrender to rest. He knows he is safe, loved, and taken care of and it’s hard to not be jealous. The truth is though, God’s called us to that same childlike faith. Kid’s don’t miss out on the fun to be had because they’re worried about what anyone will think. They don’t miss a nap because they fear what might happen. They soak up every moment like it’s the greatest thing they’ve ever experienced. They know the kind of freedom I want to live in. We can, too.
“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:14)