Stay Still

Think of yourself just as a seed patiently waiting in the earth; waiting to come up a flower in the Gardener’s good time, up into the real world, the real waking.

C. S. Lewis

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

Psalm 46:10

For the last few weeks I have been working an extra temporary job to help save up for a car. One day I was trying to focus on the work, which can be tedious, but my mind was flying in every direction. I was going over all the things that needed doing and bills that needed paying and trying to figure out how to get it all done. There should have been a blue circle over my head going around and around. I couldn’t get my mind to stay still.

Sometimes the busyness of this world can overwhelm us with things we think we should do or worrying about might ifs. The story of Martha is often the story of us. Jesus was in the house, and she was in the kitchen. She was missing out on the best part of life doing what was expected of her by society, being a good host, instead of enjoying her company. Jesus doesn’t call us to do what the world expects; He calls us to be obedient to him. Sometimes that means to just be still.

41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: 42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

Luke 10:41-42

The funny thing is Jesus’ list is a lot shorter than the one the world tries to give us. His goal is not necessarily being more productive as much as it is being closer to Him. Now, we all have jobs to do, but sometimes we take on work that isn’t ours. We either try to do things that God didn’t call us to, or we try to do his job. In the Mary and Martha story, Jesus says that Mary has chosen the one needful thing, which was being in His presence. If we take the time to sit at His feet, we often find the To Do List is shorter than we thought.

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Matthew 11:28

Jesus calls us to work alongside Him. When we do that, He takes the bulk of the weight for himself, but sometimes we try to take over. For instance, when I started worrying about the future, I was taking on His job and it is too much for me because I wasn’t made for that position. God doesn’t want us to work ourselves to death; He wants us to rest. He even set aside a day for it.

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Isaiah 40:31

When we take the time to wait upon the Lord, we are renewed. The word “wait” has a few connotations. The first is to wait upon the Lord like Mary did by sitting at His feet, to take a moment to be still. Another meaning is to wait for His guidance and timing. Finally, there is the idea of waiting on Him like a servant, or being obedient to His commands. When we wait on the Lord, our lives are much more enjoyable and satisfying because we are doing what we were meant to do, but it all started with being still.

Stay Focused

Bear in mind then, that Brag is a good dog, but Holdfast is a better.

― Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.”

― Bruce Lee

The two words set my nerve on edge: Below Expectations. I am working a short-term job which requires me to maintain validity. They judge this by randomly inserting tests in with actual work to make sure that I am responding in a consistent manner. For the last week I had been “Exceeding Expectations” and making incentive pay for my hard work. In one shift I had dropped to the danger zone, and I had no idea why because I cannot see what I have done wrong and my supervisor is not allowed to tell me. They can only offer suggestions. If I drop too low, I can be dropped from the job and possibly not invited to further job offers. I reminded God that He had provided this job and I needed wisdom to be able to continue.

 Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?

Jeremiah 32:27

Jeremiah was the verse for Monday and reminded me that not even a computer system or validity questions were too hard for God. I continued working, but the two words “Below Expectations” were always just to the left, mocking me. I clocked out early with a headache.

 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9

I had to confess that I was wavering in my faith a little, especially since the two words would not go away, no matter how carefully I worked. I had lost my confidence. I prayed again and kept working.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

I could see no purpose in this mental torture, but I kept on working. There was still no change in the two words. I clocked out a little early, weary of the mental strain of trying to meet some hidden goal.

 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

1 Corinthians 10:13

The next night I picked back up with those two words still lit up in orange: Below Expectations. I began to work and occasionally the system would show me that I had answered correctly, but the words refused to change. Then, I noticed that the system had not notified me of a chat message from my supervisor. It was a word of encouragement. I responded that I appreciated it.

 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.

Psalm 91:4

A little while later I received a phone call from the supervisor. He said that he had no idea why the system kept showing “Below Expectations.” From His perspective, I was doing excellent work. He could see everything I had done from His side of the system, while all I could see were the two words “Below Expectations.” His encouragement got me back on track and a day later I was back on “Exceeds Expectations.”

In life, sometimes all we ever see about us are evidence that we don’t meet up to the world’s standards. The truth is it’s not the world’s standards we have to meet; it is God’s standards. He knew we could never meet them, so He sent His only Son to bridge the gap for us. The enemy uses comparison and discouragement to try and distract us from doing what God has called us to do. God doesn’t require perfection, only a willing heart. He’s not looking for someone who talks a good talk; He is looking for someone who holds fast to Him.

So, when the world tries to distract you by throwing comparisons in your face, remember to stay focused on God and hold fast.