“When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions: Wait for hope to appear. Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face. The ‘worst’ is never the worst” – Lamentations 3:28 (MSG).
When life seems to spin out of control my natural response is to do something. And sometimes that’s the wise thing to do. If your house is burning it isn’t wise to lie down and take a nap.
But at the same time, I’m learning how often the wise response to challenging circumstances is to be still. Or, as the old saying goes, “Don’t just do something; stand there!”
Truth is, what happens between my ears is almost always more catastrophic than what’s happening outside of me. In retrospect, most of my outer challenges resolve themselves or just don’t matter a few days or weeks later.
Jesus once taught, “Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace” – Matthew 6:6 (MSG)
What scripture teaches has been true in my experience. When I’m experiencing difficult times, I’m learning to sit in silent meditation, surrendering my anxious thoughts to God. And when I do I find myself filled with an unexplainable peace and hope. Nothing outside of me has changed, but everything within me is different.
So, the next time you’re surrounded by chaos or challenges, don’t just do something; stand there. Be still. Breathe deeply. Surrender fully.
Not so sure about the whole meditation thing? I just finished a fascinating book entitled “Search Insides Yourself” written by an engineer at Google. Check it out here.
Jeff Marian serves as lead pastor at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, MN