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Reflections: Be still

Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (NIV). The Bible isn’t just a collection of stories; it is the inspired Word of God, and it’s amazing how the Holy Spirit regularly opens up new insight to familiar passages, often during my morning quiet time but sometimes through a sermon or book.

 

So it is with one of my favorite verses, Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God.”

 

My mom quoted that verse to remind me to spend time each day praying and reading my Bible. It became especially meaningful as it helped calm my anxiety during cancer treatment. I often refer to it when life seems chaotic, but recently, God has used it to speak to me specifically about the distractions of Too Much Information.

 

When I was young, my parents waited eagerly for paper letters with news about how the relatives were doing, how a new recipe turned out, or the cousins’ basketball teams. Now, that information is on Facebook or Instagram almost before the event is over. But seriously, do I need to know it practically in real time? And barring major catastrophes (Extra!!!), we actually waited until the evening news for updates on our community, nation and world. While that was incredibly difficult for families of deployed military, missionaries, etc., and waiting for a landline phone call was worrisome for parents of college students, I really think general anxiety levels about daily affairs were much lower.

 

Each morning, I open my phone to my devotional app and grab my print Bible and spiral-bound journal. The app is handy and provides a sense of community, but guess what else is on my phone? Yep, all the things. ‘’Oh, I’ll just see how my friend’s checkup went.” “Oh my, that chair I looked at last week is on sale.” “I wonder if I heard back on that email about that article I’m working on.” You know, because it happens to you, too!

 

Feeling the Holy Spirit’s conviction, I’ve admitted I don’t really need to know what happens the minute it does. The only notifications I now allow to pop up on my phone are text messages and emergency weather alerts. And sorry, but unless you’re my husband or one of my kids, you won’t get a prompt answer to your text during my devotions or family time.

 

Social media is great for keeping in touch with friends in other states, or reading about people and ministries for writing assignments, but it’s also a black hole! The simplest answer, for me, is a timer, limiting the minutes I spend just catching up. And unless it’s work-related, I only open the apps certain times of the day. As far as news, I’ve simply decided enough is enough. It’s good to stay informed, but good for anxiety levels to read news from multiple sources or hear multiple opinions about it, so I’ve narrowed commentary and podcasts down to a few trusted favorites. Basically, God convicted me about assuming more worry and distraction than I am designed to handle. He’s God and I’m not. He knows what was going to happen before it does. I can’t fix all the stuff, but He can and He will.

 

“Be still, and know that I am God.”

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