It's hard to just be still!

"Be still and know that I am God". Psalm 46:10

Anxiety is one of the top three most prevalent mental health struggles among Americans. Again, we are living in uncertain times. Anxiety is not a new issue however, in fact it is mentioned in the Bible over 500 times! I think anxiety is the number one obstacle to faith. When we are feeling anxious, it's often because we feel like we don't have control. If we question why a good God would allow bad things to happen- it challenges faith. If we want God to show up in his glory and power and make things right and He doesn't- it challenges faith. If we pray that God would answer our prayer and help us and nothing happens immediately that we can see- it challenges faith.

This verse used to make me feel even more anxious when I was already experiencing anxiety. Something bad is happening in my life, I am feeling out of control, I am calling on the God of the Universe to help me, and He is telling me to "Be still and know".

I can't be still, I have to do something! And, how will I know, when will I know, how long do I have to wait?

A few weeks ago, I was digging in to this verse a bit further and I made a really cool discovery! The phrase "be still" (which is the one I have the most trouble with) actually comes from the Hebrew word Rapha which means "to release" or "to let go". This is exciting to me because Rapha is an action verb! It doesn't mean I am just supposed to sit here, be quiet, and wait for God to show up. It means I am supposed to take action, which I like because I can have control of something. Here's the way I started to think about this verse.

Imagine you're going through your day, and you encounter a struggle. You feel angry, sad, lonely, or anxious. You pick that thing up and put it in your backpack and carry it around with you throughout the day. Later that day, or the following day, you encounter another situation that makes you feel angry, sad, or anxious and you pick that up and put it in your backpack as well. Soon, that load becomes very heavy and you begin to feel overwhelmed and exhausted. "Be Still" does not mean to sit with that heavy load on your back. It is an action word, "rapha", which means to let go. Start unpacking the bag! Take those things out of the bag and release them to God. Tell Him about the situation, the feelings, the hurt, the worry; tell Him all of it and ask Him to take it from you.

Here's the cool part! When I take those things out of my bag, not only do I lighten my burden, but I make space. I make space for God to fill with peace, and joy, and love. As long as my bag was full of the things that hinder me, God couldn't fill it with the things that ease by burden. God loves me! He doesn't want me to carry those things around with me, and He doesn't want me to feel like I'm alone. When I trust Him, and thank Him for all the times He has been there before, and lay those things down- that builds faith! The other part is that I don't pick them back up. I get up, and get back to my day feeling the relief of a lighter load, and trusting that God will take it from here. He may not do it right away. He may not do it the way I expect. He may use a person, a song, a verse, or a quiet whisper when I least expect it. I don't need to know the plan. I just need to trust that He has one, it's better than anything I could come up with, and it will be Good!

Heavenly Father, thank you that you love me and care about what I care about. You created me with emotions, and you made me to feel things very passionately. Help me to trust you when I am feeling all the feels. Help me to be able to set that load down, to unpack it, to reflect on each thing I am holding on to, and to give it to you trusting that I don't have to carry it anymore.

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