Be Still

I hope today’s post by Kiersti Plog brings you into a restful and prayerful weekend. I often talk about moment-by-moment surrender. That’s different than scheduled obedience. One follows a list of rules, turning religion into a ritual. The other follows the risen Savior, drawing to His side with ears open and a heart driven by love and ready to obey. It’s easier to follow the to-do list, and if the two-do list centers around religious activity, it’s easy to feel righteous by our actions. But God didn’t say “Come perform.” He said, “Follow me. Take my yoke upon you. Abide in Me. Draw near to Me. Let Me permeate every part of your being, speaking to you gently, like a dear friend and ever-faithful father.”

Be Still by Kiersti Plog

As I write this, quiet rests over our patio. A bird twittered above my head at first, but now I think he has moved to a more distant treetop. The neighbors’ air conditioner hums. Leaves rustle in a faint summer breeze.

I came out here to write an entirely different post. But when I sat down and even typed the title, I sensed the Lord whispering to my heart through the little bird’s song. Be still. Listen. Only I didn’t listen. I wanted to get my post done. I went inside for a pair of earphones, so I could hear music that might inspire me for the post I wanted to write. While inside, I realized I should fix my grandmother a snack. As I peeled and sliced our homegrown peaches for her, my heart relented. Okay, Lord. I’m sorry. I’ll listen.

I came back outside with my own teacup of peaches, milk, and cream. I sat back down. And I began to write, this time trying to listen to the Lord as I did.

It’s challenging, in this world of Facebook and iPhones, of deadlines and crammed schedules, to be still. To listen. Life has been hectic for our family lately, between Seussical rehearsals, set-painting and the multitude of details that must be organized in preparation for the show’s opening this week, on top of the day-to-day tasks and grandma-care and emails that must still happen somehow. Many a night I stay up typing past midnight, since it is hard to fit much novel-writing into daylight hours right now. I know others’ lives are just as busy with their own plethora of duties, joys, and responsibilities the Lord has given them. Good things, many of these. But it is often hard to remember to stop long enough to be still and know that He is God.

I’m reminded, though, of the devotional my mom led for our cast before rehearsal yesterday. The name of our theater company is Showlights, and at the beginning of this school year my mom gave each student a glow-in-the-dark star. She explained they must let the star sit under a bright light for a while before it could shine in the darkness. Yesterday, she brought the star box out again and passed it around once more, as many of our cast members are newer to the group and had not received one. And she reminded them that, just like these stars, we cannot shine the light of Jesus unless we take time to soak in His presence, His light. My mom encouraged each of our young actors to take time this week, in spite of the busyness, to spend time with Jesus, to absorb Him, so that we might truly “show light” to our audiences as our show opens this weekend. My own heart was touched as I listened to her words and the children’s prayers.

Often, the Lord has to remind me that,

“In returning and rest you will be saved, in quietness and trust is your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15, literal translation)

I don’t want the ending of the verse to be true of me: “But you were not willing.”

I’m thankful He helped me to be willing today. And hopefully someday soon, I’ll get that other post written. ☺

May you know His rest this Friday.

Kiersti Plog,a writer and tutor in southern California, holds a life-long love for history and historical fiction. She has been published in Grit, Clubhouse Jr., and two newspapers and was also a staff writer for the Global Xpress Kids Club magazine for over two years. She is currently working on a historical novel set at a Navajo mission boarding school in 1911, a story inspired by living in northwest New Mexico for five years.

Kiersti holds a B.A. in English with a writing emphasis from Azusa Pacific University and has also completed the “Writing for Children and Teenagers” course with the Institute of Children’s Literature. She has been a writing consultant at Azusa Pacific University and Pasadena City College, as well as a private tutor. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and loves learning and growing with other writers penning God’s story into theirs.

 

Be Still

Okay writers, this one’s for you. We’re an insecure bunch, aren’t we? Most of us are so emotionally volatile, we go from laugh-out-loud gregarious to self-isolated hermit faster than a schizophrenic on crack. And only a writer can turn a compliment into a downer:

“Hey, I read your latest blog post. I totally loved it.”

Oh, no. That’s the last one. I know it. I’m bone dry here. What’ll happen when this guy figures out I really can’t write and that was just a fluke?

And an opened door into a dungeon entry:

“I’d love to have you join our team.”

Deadlines? Expectations? What if I let them down? Which blog post, article, or interview made them think I’d be good for this job or ministry position and what’s going to happen when they figure out I’m not who they think I am?

We read so much about platforms, branding, networking, and marketing, that it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Writing is no longer just about writing. In today’s technological age, it takes much more than flowery words to get yourself heard. You need strong marketing skills, a dash of big-picture thinking to stay one step ahead of the fray, a psychology degree to navigate all the PR requirements, media and industry connections, and enough stick-to-itness to stand up against the ever-flying obstacles hurled your way. It’s easy to get lost amidst the noise, but running in circles won’t do you any good. So what do you do when you can’t see above the ever-swirling storm clouds? You retreat, and rest. And remember this battle is not yours. And you don’t have to do it alone.

“Relax my child, this really isn’t about you. Nor is it up to you,” our Father says, as He lovingly takes our hand. “Be still and know that I am God. Keep your eyes on Me. Trust my plan, and the life jacket I provide. Yes, the waves are strong. Yes, the wind is loud. But My hand is stronger, and I will never let you go. My power is displayed in your weakness. And remember, this is not your story. It never was. It is my story, and I will pen it through you.” And then the Creator of the universe leans down and whispers in your ear the story that will be woven in a million hearts as He draws His beloved into His warm embrace.

2 Corinthians 3:5-6 “Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit, for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”