A few times a year I get to drive down a dirt track in Leakey, Texas into a canyon and through a river bed, before arriving at a retreat center called Laity Lodge. This center was originally built in the early 60s, and is owned and maintained by a foundation within H.E.B. (a Texas grocery store chain).
From the moment you hit the dirt track your cell phone ceases to receive signal. At first this was disconcerting. I mean, what if someone needed to contact me? Or I wanted to surf the Internet? Or, if I just wanted to feel plugged in? However, these days when I visit, I look forward to my phone displaying “no service,” because it means I am about to do something that doesn’t come naturally to me. I’m going to be still.
I have often quoted the verse found in Psalm 46:10. “Be still and know that I am God.” However I usually quote it in the middle of a concert…which is when I am working! I don’t often dwell on these words, let alone allow them to shape my often busy life. Yet the implication is clear. The reverse of being still is to be active. And if being still is how God invites us to know Him (and perhaps when He chooses to reveal Himself to us), then to be always busy, always working, always active, might just make it near impossible to know that God is God.
Perhaps this is because as long as we are working and moving, planning and achieving, we can kid ourselves in to believing that we are in charge, that somehow, “God helps those who help themselves.” But nothing could be further from the truth! Being still, especially these days (although I’m sure that life got just as busy in ancient Israel!) takes a level of trust that God will provide what we need. It is a reminder that He is more important than our frenetic action, or our attempts to stay on top of things.
To be honest, this is a lesson that I am not quick to learn! I gain a certain level of satisfaction from getting the job done, from staying busy. Laity Lodge and the opportunity it brings me to unplug and be still, reminds me that if I find my satisfaction in anything other than the Creator who calls me to know Him, then I embrace a counterfeit and a lie.
I’m wondering if it’s time for my heart and mind to become a little more “out of range,” so to speak, and a little more still. After all, I want to know that He is God and remember that I am not.