One of the most important things we can learn in this day and in this hour is how to be still. In Psalm 46:10, the psalmist rejoices in God's presence among His people: "Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth!" (The Amplified Bible).
Although sometimes we move too slowly and most of the time we move too fast, the major problem is that we move in the flesh. We jump up and do things without acknowledging the Lord.
According to Proverbs 3:5-6, we're supposed to lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all our hearts and minds. We aren't to rely on our own insight or understanding but are to acknowledge God. These powerful verses conclude that when we do, He will direct and make straight and plain our paths.
I believe that one of the significant reasons so many of us are burned out and stressed out is that we don't know how to be still. We don't really know God and do not acknowledge Him. Only by spending time getting to know Him will we learn to hear His still, small voice so that He can direct our paths.
We need to learn to be quiet inside and stay in that peaceful state so that we are always ready to hear the Lord's voice. Many people today run from one thing to the next. Because their minds don't know how to be still, they don't know how to be still.
At one time I didn't know how to stay home for an evening, and I was a full-grown adult. I felt I had to find something to do every night. I had to be involved and on the go, being a part of whatever was going on.
I thought I couldn't afford to miss anything that happened because I didn't want anything to go on that I didn't know about. I couldn't just sit and be still, look at a tree in the backyard, or drink a cup of coffee. I had to be up doing something. I was not a human being—I was a human doing. I had reached the point of being so tired from all my activities that I wasn't even nice to be around.
Simply being civil anytime someone asked me something was becoming difficult. I was pushing myself into overload, and I was no longer displaying the fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (see Gal. 5:22-23).
Had I allowed myself to settle down, I could have simply listened and obeyed the prompting of the Holy Spirit—that "still, small voice" described in 1 Kings 19:11-12. The Lord did not use the great and strong wind, the earthquake, or the fire as a prompting but instead came as "a sound of gentle stillness" and "a still, small voice." The prompting of "a still, small voice" can be God's wisdom giving you direction in a particular moment.
If you are born again, Jesus is living inside you. If He is inside you, you have God's wisdom in you to draw on at any moment. But unless you listen to wisdom, it won't do you any good.
When God prompts us to do little things, we need to listen and obey. We must realize that He is never trying to take anything away from us. He is always trying to set us up for a blessing.
If we'll just slow down and quiet our minds enough to hear His promptings, we can live in a place of peace, ready to respond obediently. It is easy to see that relieving stress—leading a peaceful, happy life, free from exhaustion and burnout—is not all that complicated.
I love Deuteronomy 5:29, which states: "Oh, that they had such a [mind and] heart in them always [reverently] to fear Me and keep all My commandments, that it might go well with them and with their children forever!" Things will go well with us if we learn to be still so we can hear and obey God.
This is how I want to live. How about you?
Joyce Meyer is a New York Times best-selling author and one of the world's leading practical Bible teachers. She has written more than 70 books, including the popular Beauty for Ashes and Battlefield of the Mind, and her first novel, The Penny (all FaithWords). She is also the founder of Joyce Meyer Ministries Inc. and the host of Enjoying Everyday Life radio and TV programs, which air on hundreds of stations worldwide. To read past columns in Charisma by Joyce Meyer, log on at charismamag.com/meyer.