Author: Brittany Nelson
“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
While many addictions exist that cause various Christians to stumble, there is one that permeates every single one of our lives, directly influences our spiritual growth, and makes the verse above one of the most challenging verses in the Bible: our addiction to hurry. Whether we consciously recognize this addiction or not, we live in a world today that catapults us into a frenzied pace of life through busy schedules and demanding expectations. Catching up with friends has become a competition for the title of “busiest person in the world,” and somewhere along the way, being still has been branded as unproductive. But spiritual growth, as a process of change in our hearts over time, is by definition unhurried.
Our speedy pace often prevents us from becoming more Christ-like because it focuses our attention on ourselves and our schedules, and the hurry limits or eradicates the possibility of hearing from God. Whether we are running from aches, ourselves, or God, fear is the stimulus: fear of missing out, fear of not measuring up, fear of falling behind, fear of disappointing someone, etc. These fears motivate us to scramble, do, and achieve to the point of hindering our spiritual growth.
So how do we stop, be still, and know that He is God?
Like any other addiction, our obsession with speed requires a two-part remedy: mental and physical. If we want to beat the hurry in our lives, we have to beat the hurry in our minds. Fear is the trigger for our hurried pace of life, and interestingly, underlying each one of those fears is the assumption that we can earn our affirmation and love. I have to mentally remind myself of the truth that my worth comes from who God says I am and not what I accomplish, or I fall into a pattern of frenzied attempts to earn love. Keeping in mind that our identity lies in Christ and not in our achievements – creating this mental shift from “my worth comes from what I do” to “my worth comes from who I am in Christ” – is the first step in stopping the hurry.
Intentionally combatting the addiction to speed mentally leads to countering speed physically. Taking small steps to engage with the environment around us instead of checking our phone every time there’s a free, still moment can help physically combat the addiction. Listening more carefully, noticing the people in the check-out line, looking for God’s fingerprints within creation, and creating space in our schedules for time with God are all ways we can fight our need for speed. You don’t have to suddenly carve out 4 hours of your day for stillness. If I try to invoke too much change of habit at the same time, I feel even more hurried, and the process becomes counter-productive. Start small. Find 15 minutes in your day somewhere (before the kids get up or after they go to bed, waiting in the carpool line, those 5 minutes before the kids get off the bus, take an extra ten minutes at lunchtime, etc.) to turn off the radio, put your phone away, and just be still. Use this time to “know that He is God” – think about God, talk to Him, wonder at His character. Even just 10 minutes a day of mental and physical stillness can improve overall health and help us break our addiction to hurry.
You might be thinking, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” And my response would be: “That’s exactly the problem!” We must change our thinking that says that being still is unproductive and focus on increasing the spiritual discipline of stillness in our minds and our lives. Even God took a day off! And if God prioritizes times of rest, we should too.
So today, consider what causes your personal hurry, find mental and physical ways to fight those triggers, and give yourself permission to be still and know that He is God.