When God is quiet and the world is noisy

My husband didn’t put fifty-one candles on the cake. He is a smart man. 

Instead of setting up my classroom for the new school year this August, I’m home, having taken a leap of faith, quitting my job, and waiting on God. He has shifted our family in the context of national and international unrest and natural disaster. While I’m tutoring students diagnosed with dyslexia for now, I have a sense of being asked by God to do something deeper, sort of step on outta that boat and take Him by the hand kinda shifting.

At age 51.

I’m restless. Can you relate? I want to get on with the “doing”. What class, relationship, skill do I need to start developing? 

I have prayed. Fasted. Sought wise counsel. Checked all the religious boxes. And yet. 

God has not completely filled in the blanks. 

Of course, Youtube, headlines, and bills have tried to. Fear. Pride. Division. I have shut down the noise. Gotten in my prayer closet. And yet…

Heavenly cricket chirping. 

It’s not the kind of distance that makes me doubt if God is with me. I know He’s there. He doesn’t want me to be afraid. 

It’s the overwhelming quiet of not knowing what to do, where to go…  It feels like fog. Or living in a snowglobe. For people like me, it can get a little frantic in the quiet. And my first impulse is to fill in the blanks myself. Maybe put some spiritual words on my ideas so I trick myself into thinking they are within God’s will.

Silence.

A friend texted Psalm 46’s “Be still and know that I am God.”

Seriously? If that was the big revelation, I could have just gone to any coffee mug or Christian t-shirt franchise and seen that.  Ever catch yourself thinking you’re farther along in this walk of faith than you truly are? 

Be silent. But, God. Afghanistan. Silent. Haiti! Covid. Stop what you’re doing. My lost neighbors!

What does a person do when God is quiet and the world is noisy?

Be still. Stand firm.  All those other coffee mug sayings.

God, that’s too simple to be what I need. Give me something deeper. 

Be. Still. Know Me.

Psalm 46 looked back at me. Not with a glare or an “I told you so”. But, with my grandmother’s wave, motioning me inside to sit on her overstuffed couch.

I turned on some instrumental music and sat down and stared. Meaning just inactivity. That was successful for eight nanoseconds because I was focused on not focusing. 

But. I turned on the music and tried again. Five minutes the next day. Ten the next. Like a baby giraffe learning to stand, it eventually happened. It didn’t look pretty. But, it counts. I let go of one side–the overthinking, what am I going to do with my life brain—and reached out to grab the other–the focusing on worshipping God part, where truly, none of the fruitless ways I try to work things out matter.

Be still. Know. Me.

I’m a product of a culture that, even in the church, prizes productivity and action.

However,  David, the one after God’s own heart, operated from a different stance.

Before giants are slayed. Be still. 

Before battles are won. Be quiet. 

Before you give or take counsel. Wait. Hard for wisdom to pour into a moving target.

Be still. Get focused. Remember Who is your help. Then, when God says, get ready and move. Accurately. In the context of His will. 

In my being still, I’ve discovered He’s not silent. He’s more present than I ever imagined.

Two things I gleaned from being still:

There is a  mindset which heals and protects:

God is a very present help. He is with us. He is a fortress.

Even when I’m fearful because of the circumstances in the world and culture. Even when I’m not hearing from Him in the way I think I need. God is here. Present. Always. That is the mindset I need to take into this time of shifting.   

The thought that He is in some way distant or disinterested in my situation is a lie from the enemy. It was important enough to be repeated three times in one psalm.(vs. 1, 7, 11) God is with us. 

The purpose of being still is the exaltation of God. 

Verse 10 begins. “Be still.” But it continues. Be still for the purpose of knowing God deeply. Exalting Him among the nations, over all the earth.  This psalm doesn’t deny there are problems which seek to overwhelm us:  mountains and waters foam and quake (vs. 2-3), nations are in an uproar (vs. 6)  But, God’s voice makes the earth melt, He breaks the bow, He is above it all. 

Busyness is actually a fruitless effort which exalts my need for answers above a living God. I need to repent of this, and let my being still reflect a commitment to worship and honor God Who is above all else.

God is asking me to be still in the unknown so there is no way I could think the plan or the purpose was my doing. It’s all His–the timing, the details, and the glory. 

I’m praising God for all the obvious pieces He has positioned for me, the change I saw coming and welcomed. And now, in the stillness, I praise Him even more for the kajillion unseen moving parts as He reveals Himself in deep places. It has become a time where I put up no resistance so He can prune and refine me and my next steps.

There is a silence that heals us from self. That combats fear and control. That unleashes the presence of God. It is acquired through a violent determination to be still while the rest of the world pushes forward in a manic,self deprecating pace.

God is not silent. The world is just noisy. If you slow down, You’ll hear His voice.

Be still. Because I love you.

Know me. Because I care about your situation.

Be still and worship Me. There is more. So. Much. More.

Blessings on any effort you make to unplug, listen, and exalt Him above anything you are walking through right now. As always, I am happy to pray with you. Simply leave a comment below.

18 Comments Add yours

  1. You need to do the math differently (and share this with your husband.) You are celebrating the 31st anniversary of your 20th birthday!

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    1. Amen! I will make sure the man sees this for sure.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Aida says:

        wow this was for me today!! thamk you for writing such beautiful words of God.

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      2. Thank you. Glad God gave us church family to help point each other back to Him. Hoping you feel God deeply.

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  2. rly0707 says:

    This is a beautiful message, Julie…..your message comforts me…thank you for sharing…..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! It is a blessing to let God steer us through all of this. Lots of love your way.

      Like

  3. LeeAndra Johnson says:

    Julie this was so good! I always love your raw honesty in your writing and it’s so relatable. That being still part can be hard especially when anxiety rears its ugly head and we have this nagging desire to want to control everything. Very powerful!

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    1. Thank you sis. Glad we have each other to stay focused on the One Who is our strength.
      It has been a challenge indeed…

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  4. Brian Barnes says:

    Well done Julie. Thank you!

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    1. Thank you for reading this, Brian. I hope all is well with you!

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  5. Cheri Greenhalgh says:

    Wow!!! Julie, this is so very powerful and enlightening! This is just what I needed to hear. Thank you for sharing! I pray blessings over where ever God is leading you!

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    1. That means a lot coming from you, Cheri! I have always looked up to you as being so strong in faith, even when times are challenging. God bless you, too as your family grows!

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  6. Gina Humphries says:

    Thank you for this!!! So needed right now, very powerful and true.
    ❤️

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    1. Thank you Gina. So blessed to have you be one of the people I get to call church family. 🙂

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  7. Patty Whitaker says:

    Julie, we’ll written and expressed beautifully! Being still and defying the noise and distraction is a daily challenge but necessary to tune in to our Creator. You are so on point, this is like a muscle that must be exercised, at least for me. Thank you for sharing and encouraging us❤

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    1. Thank you! I like the muscle analogy. It has to be used. Definitely the case for me, too. Thank you for being an iron sharpens iron friend!

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  8. Steve Seyller says:

    Julieanne: I’ve never met you personally, but I know your husband, I work for SCSO(He’s a good dude:)
    This hit me where I needed it. I’m going through a very similar season with my career. And the doors I’ve tried to open have only slammed shut. So this really aligned with what the Spirit has been saying to me. Especially this part:
    ‘God is asking me to be still in the unknown so there is no way I could think the plan or the purpose was my doing. It’s all His–the timing, the details, and the glory.’
    Because literally just today I asked God to provide the next step to where I know it is undeniably Him.
    Thank you for being faithful to share. And tell James I said hello!

    Like

    1. Praise God that He so clearly speaks to us and will go to any lengths to make His will known. I pray God’s Spirit speaks to you clearly and blesses your next steps. Sometimes it is just to be still. He is so good and faithful! I will tell James you said hi.

      Like

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