Options and choices can be great, but studies show that the more options we have it can crowd out some really good things in our lives. Sometimes too many options paralyze us from making decisions quickly. Case in point the CheeseCake Factory menu. Sometimes having too many options crowd out some of the disciplines that make life full and rewarding. I have to learn how to create margin for the things that really matter and that means saying no to more things.
The thing that too many options have crowded out most in my life is stillness. Psalm 46:10, “He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” More and more I am aware of how stillness is being edged out and how little I know how to be still. Stillness is ESSENTIAL to our souls. The anxiety, stress, depression, and fear I’ve experienced all stem from my choice to not be still and know God. I know God is. He is God. But getting still and really knowing Him changes everything. You can not know anyone apart from being fully present with someone. Being fully present with someone requires stillness of mind and removing anything that distracts us from the moment. It is a stillness with the intention of getting to know God. It removes the distractions of all of our options.
If you are old enough you might be able to remember life before the internet, social media, mobile phones, netflix, and other modern media. Even then we had plenty that wanted to distract us from being still. As time advances so does our options. Options aren’t bad but if we don’t improve our ability to create margin for what REALLY MATTERS…we will forfeit the peace Christ came to give us.
Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” And Romans 8:5-6 says, “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” In both Isaiah and Romans it says that if your mind is fixed and thinking on things of the Spirit that you will experience peace and life.
If I am anxious about anything it is simply because I don’t believe something about God. As sons and daughters of God we are invited into a knowing relationship with Him. When you really know God you will trust Him and anxiety and fear will lose their oxygen. Anxiety cannot survive when you grow in great trust God. You will trust God to the degree you know Him. It’s no wonder that depression and anxiety are spiking in this generation. When we increase activities that do not fill us with meaningful connection with God and each other we are setting ourselves up for a void and emptiness.
Every spiritual discipline in your life should be for the purpose of knowing God. The greatest commandment is to love God, but you cannot love someone you don’t know. When the disciples asked Jesus what work the Father required Jesus said it was “to believe in the One God sent.” You cannot believe and trust someone you do not know. You cannot know someone without stillness and intentional behavior. What are you going to carve out of your life to make room for stillness?