The words – Be Still – can mean not moving, and being quiet. From a biblical perspective, I was shocked and actually had to laugh when I found out the literal meaning.
The sermon at church one morning focused on the passage from Mark, Chapter 5. Jesus had been overwhelmed when so many people wanted to make contact with him. That’s right, Jesus was overwhelmed. He made the decision to take a boat across the water to escape the crowd. A huge storm rolled in. The disciples were freaked out and scared to death. They looked for Jesus to help them and found him fast asleep from exhaustion. They were terrified because of the storm and woke Jesus up. According to Mark’s account, Jesus was not happy. He was quite mad. So much so that he yelled, “Peace, Be Still!” The storm and the huge waves stopped immediately. The literal translation of, Be Still is – Shut Up!
The bible verse, Psalm 46:10 – Be still and know that I am God – is also translated to mean – Shut up and know that I am God. Another pastor I met told me about that translation and used the analogy of the proverbial, family road trip. You know the one, with the kids in the back seat saying, “Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?” The answer, of course, is be still or shut up!
How often do we ask God for everything, but we don’t stop to listen or to be still? The act of being still and getting quiet becomes more of a challenge in our hectic world.
One way to be still is to practice sitting quietly with no distractions. I know this is hard to do and at first I didn’t have much luck with that. Then after trying and trying I did it. I was able to be quiet and pray and listen. We all need a time and place where we can go and have this inner peace.
This takes practice! I read, on the Internet that we have upwards of 50,000 thoughts per day. Many thoughts are recurring ones that cause additional stress. You know the ones, “I’m stupid, I can’t do it, I’ll never succeed, it’s too hard, it will never happen, I’m not good enough, I’m too old, too young.” In addition to those thoughts, we are exposed to as many as 5,000 advertising messages a day. Because of this, our mind is cluttered. Being still takes practice and persistence. We have to literally tell our mind to, “Shut up!”
Many people are intimidated by silence. Silence can cause you to address issues that you might be running from. It’s easy to fill each day with busyness and then block out concerns through hours of mind-numbing television viewing, Internet surfing or reading magazines. None of these activities are bad. However, if they are used to fill a void that is not being filled, over time, the toll will manifest itself in the form of lost relationships, lost opportunities and lost dreams never being fulfilled.
So, if you are feeling overwhelmed, try being still – or telling those overwhelming thoughts to, “Shut up!” With practice, you can begin to feel peace, just as the waters that Jesus calmed, when he shouted, “Peace be still!”