Standing still

I haven’t had much time lately to be still, which may be why I am really loving yoga lately. It’s a time to be still (more or less) and stretch and breathe deeply. As a runner, I’ve found yoga to be an indispensable way to keep my muscles flexible. As a Christian, I’ve found it to be a time that I can spend in prayer with God.

I took a yoga class a few years ago at my church, and the instructor (a Christian friend of mine) always closed our sessions with the first part of this verse:

“‘Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.'” – Psalm 46:10 (NIV)

I love the way she broke it down: 

“Be still and know that I am God.
Be still and know.
Be still.
Be.”

When I start rushing around – even when it’s work I’m supposed to do for God – I often find myself craving “still” time. My yoga instructor’s words, and the verse that inspires them, often run through my head during these busy moments – a good reminder that if I don’t take time to be still, I’m likely to miss out on God’s quiet directions to me. And I’m likely to get too exhausted to finish the work ahead very well.

By the way, there is a pose in yoga called “tree” (here are some images when you Google it). It may surprise you to know that, though I do love trees, it’s not one of my favorite yoga poses. The pose involves standing still and balancing on one leg while placing the other foot on your ankle, calf or thigh. I’m pretty good at balance poses in yoga, but not so great in the flexibility department. To do a proper tree pose, you need both balance and flexibility, and I’m pretty sure that’s why I don’t love the pose.

Come to think of it, I think that’s what I find uncomfortable about life sometimes. Striking the right balance of action and stillness while also remaining flexible for those moments when God comes along and nudges me in a different direction than the perfectly good one I had planned for myself that particular day. At least, I thought it was a good plan. Ahem.

Sometimes God wants me to stand still and acknowledge Him. Other times, He wants me balancing a variety of activities and listening for his direction. And sometimes, He wants me to be still, acknowledge him, balance, listen, be flexible and remember to breathe, all while I’m standing on just one foot.

So whether you’re on one foot or two, standing or sitting or lying down, take some time to be still this week, and just listen. Oh, and don’t forget to breathe.

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