'Be Still' - BE STILL...

I am super excited about this series of blog posts!  The verse from Psalm 46, “Be still and know that I am God,” has played a significant part in my faith journey.  It is something that God has continually been working through in my life, so I am excited to share some of the things He has taught me and is still teaching me along the way.
I am a chronic stressor!  Whether it is something as significant as making a big life decision like whether to go to university or something small like a phone call I must make, I will find a way to excessively worry about it.  For a long time, I thought, “That’s just who I am”, often making the excuse of “I’m just a worrier”.  Until one day, I felt God challenging me.  It was as if He was saying to me, “Fair enough, you are a worrier, that’s part of your nature/character, but do you realise that’s not how I’ve called you to live?”.  You see, God has more for us than stress, worry and anxiety.  Those things aren’t of Him.  Of course, it’s natural to stress over big things that may well determine the next few years of your life, but a lot of the time, we -worry more intensely than we need to.
Trust me; I know what it’s like to constantly have this swooshing feeling in the pit of your stomach like your parent has just turned on the washing machine to extreme spin.  But in John 10:10, Jesus says, “…I came that you may have life and have it abundantly”.  When thinking biblically, - an abundant life is overflowing with joy, strength, and peace.  That is the kind of life Jesus is offering you, not one of constant worry and fear for the future.
Don’t get me wrong; I wish that meant that you would never have to stress, worry, or fear again. Unfortunately, troubles will still happen, you may even still have that swooshing feeling from time to time, but when you live a life with Jesus, those times of worry become much more manageable.
Worry, stress and fear are emotions, it is biological, within your brain and mind.  So, to combat them, you need to make some shifts in your thinking.  God made that so clear to me on so many occasions.  I read a book recently called “Battlefield of the Mind” by Joyce Meyer.  One of the key points she makes draws from the verse in Ephesians 6:12 that says, “ For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places”.  We are in a war.  It may not be a physical one, but we are in a war in our minds, against an enemy who constantly tries to deceive us into thinking the wrong things.  Therefore, holding fast to the truths of scripture is so important because the enemy is always trying to tell us lies.
Meyer sums up the situations like this:
  1. We are engaged in war.
  2. Our enemy is Satan.
  3. The mind is the battlefield.
  4. The devil works diligently to set up strongholds in our mind.
  5. He does it through strategy and deceit.
  6. He is in no hurry; he often takes his time.
The only way we can defeat the strongholds is to make small but vital shifts in our thinking.  I’ll give you an example to help.
After my A-levels, I went to my local college for two years to study Sports Science, but as fascinating as it was, I soon discovered I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life in a sports-related career. However, I felt this immense pressure and stress to figure my life out.  The anxiety I felt about the future was so extreme that out of desperation, I choose physiotherapy as a potential career path, packed my bags, and went on my way to Jordanstown.  Well, let’s just say things went downhill fast. I ended up unwell mentally after only a month and ended up dropping out after one semester.
Why am I telling you this?
Because the enemy has fed me lies for several years that I had to have my life together, that I was a failure if I didn’t know what career I wanted, that I had to go to uni to prove that I was someone and if I didn’t then I would be a failure for the rest of my life.  And I believed every word of the lie!
So, I took a year out and interned at my local Exodus Centre, where I was involved in youth ministry. While I was there, God taught me an important lesson, and it may seem so simple, but it was this: my life belongs in His hands.  I had spent so long trying to plan and organise my life due to the lies the enemy told me that I was missing out on the opportunity to be abundantly filled to overflowing with all the good things Jesus had for me.  I know Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope” can often seem so cliché, but it is an essential truth for living in this world.
What if, the next time you become overwhelmed with worry about the future, that you trade the lies the enemy is telling you for the truth that your life is in the hands of the one who created the heavens and the earth?

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