Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!
(Psalm 46:10 NKJV)
10 MINUTES OF STILLNESS
Are your days filled with busyness? Do you ever take time to pause, take a deep breath and relax? Have you ever considered stopping for short breaks, even if you’re in the middle of a project? Did you know that just 10 minutes of stillness a day will give you refreshment, time to refocus and remember you are not alone?
In the busyness and striving and working it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that God is with us. We try to do things in our own strength. I know how easy it is to just push through, thinking, I have to finish this before I stop. Yes, I’ve been there and remember thinking – just one more thing… And that one more, turns into many more.
A few years ago, I began practicing 10 minutes of stillness each day, but somewhere along the way, I stopped. It seemed to just slip away, and I don’t remember the last time. Yet, when I think about how much I enjoyed it and how it helped me, the desire to renew that practice is strong.
When the desire is there, it makes it easier to start, but desire isn’t enough on its own; I must take that first step. Beyond that, it also takes consistency if I want to develop a habit. 10 minutes of stillness should not be hard to do, it’s such a small part of the day. Of course, distractions will come, so I will have to work at it to be consistent.
NOT THWARTED BY THUNDERSTORMS
One day I went out to sit on the porch to begin my 10 minutes of stillness, but I noticed the plants needed watering. So, I took care of them, but as I did, the sky began darkening. Suddenly there was lightning, and I jumped when a very loud clap of thunder followed. Then the rain came pouring down, joined by some hail.
I went back inside, but there was such an awesome display, I just couldn’t stay in. So, I opened the door and stood just outside it on the porch. That way I was protected but could still take some pictures. I don’t remember if I ever got back to the time of stillness that day.
The next day, I went out on the porch again, taking along a glass of water, a small notebook, a pen and my phone to use as a timer. First, I sat down and took some deep breaths to help me relax. I planned to listen, observe and write down what I noticed.
Once again, the sky began darkening. but it looked like clouds were moving away. Little did I know! I wrote this poem during my 10 minutes of stillness on the porch:
Dark clouds overhead
Thunder rumbles as birds sing
I sit on the porch
Wind blows stronger now
Tree tops sway as leaves rustle
I watch and listen
Sky grows darker still
Cicadas start their humming
I stay on the porch
Thunder loud enough to feel
I wait on the porch
Rain comes pelting down
Trees bend low from gusting winds
I am getting wet
Storm passes quickly
In its wake a rainbow shines
I am still in awe
THE GIFT OF A RAINBOW
My time of stillness, of being aware of my surroundings, was certainly not quiet. But what a display of the awesomeness of God! I tried several times to get a photo of a lightning bolt but had no success. What appeared afterward was a beautiful gift from God – a great overarching rainbow!
The rainbow reminds us of the promise of God never to destroy the earth with water again. It also reminds us of His love and care. The terrifying beauty of the storm and the colorful rainbow – both reminders of the awesome power and glory of God. Even though our electricity went out for a while, I was thankful to have that time on the porch. When the storm was over I picked a few blueberries, fresh and wet from the rain.
I encourage you to try pausing each day for 10 minutes of stillness. If it’s easier, start with only 5 minutes and work your way up. Sometimes your time of stillness will be uneventful; sometimes it may bring a glorious display. The important thing is that we intentionally pause each day, notice our surroundings, thank God for these moments and remember He is with us.
IDEAS FOR GETTING STARTED
- Decide on an approximate time and try to stick close to it each day.
- Find a comfortable place inside or outside. A change of scenery might help.
- Bring along pen, paper, camera, a timer, cold or hot drink, or anything else you think would help.
- Start by taking a few deep breaths to relax, maybe including some breath prayers.
- Be still. Listen. Observe. Pray. Write your thoughts. Take a picture.
- Give thanks.
If this sounds like too much to begin, try pausing for a few seconds every few hours. Maybe even set an alarm on your phone. Stop what you are doing, take a deep breath and thank God you are alive. That’s it! Once it becomes a habit, you may find time for longer breaks like the practice of 10 minutes of stillness a day.
Or, if some days are not as full, you can set aside a block of time to focus on God and His presence with you. No matter what you choose, each break will help refresh you. The more we acknowledge the presence of God in our lives, the more we will recognize His faithfulness and love.
How priceless your faithful love is, God!
People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They are filled from the abundance of your house.
You let them drink from your refreshing stream.
For the wellspring of life is with you.
By means of your light we see light.