Is It Time To Be Still
What's the Point of Slowing Down When There's Still So Much to Do?
Hey Friends! Thank you so much for reading my newsletter. I take it as quite an honor and (not a light) responsibility to keep aiming for excellence, creativity and authenticity with what I write each week. A favor: It would mean a ton to me if from time to time you could like and/or comment on some pieces. The more “activity” there appears to be, the better the chances of showing up in searches and indexes so more people can be exposed to hope. But more than that, I believe we can help each other as we share our thoughts and perspectives. I’d love to grow this into a community of like-minded people who are deciding to live lives of hope and love, rather than fear and despair. We always have a choice, and I want to keep pointing to the better one.
With love & gratitude, Mark
Is It Time To Be Still?
I produced an audiobook this past week for a really interesting guy. (I usually just narrate the book, but from time to time I get asked to help record an author who wants to record their own book.) Dr. Corey Yeager is a brilliant psychologist and Life Coach for the Detroit Pistons. He lives in Minneapolis with his family, but divides his time between here and Detroit. He also travels on the road with the team and is basically their “how are you doing?“ guy. It sounds like an incredible job and he seems to be perfect for it. Fittingly, his upcoming book is called How Am I Doing? 40 Questions to Have With Yourself.
During one of our breaks I told him about something I was struggling with (He’s the kind of guy you just wanna tell things to). His response to what I told him was beautiful, simple, and extremely challenging. It wasn’t something I hadn’t heard before, but it was as if I needed to hear it again in this particular moment.
He said “Mark, maybe this is a time just to be still.” I let some air pass—I knew he just dropped a truth bomb on me. And then he said, “You know, like, be still and know?”
He was referring to Psalm 46:10 which says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Check out the Message translation of this one: “Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything.” Whoa. Awesome, right?
I’ve never thought about this verse in terms of the wisdom it offers to just be still… because then you’ll know. It flies in the face of how I thought I was supposed to approach life.
I want to figure it out… because then I’ll know.
I want to have the answers… because then I’ll know.
I want to have specific instructions on what I should do… because then I’ll know.
Am I being asked to simply be still…like, do nothing? Just sit there…and somehow that’s the magic way to knowing? I think it is.
What Dr. Corey was offering me was an opportunity to get off the performance treadmill (once again) and remember that I am deeply loved even when I’m not being productive.
Do you feel like it’s time for you to be still? When you take the time to be still…to put aside your quest for all the answers or your desire to be in control… remember how deeply loved you are, and that there’s nothing more you need to do to earn it.
Back when the pandemic hit and shut down my music touring, I was frustrated because I was so used to the treadmill of working hard to try and get concerts, posting about them on social media, prepping for and then doing the concerts, relishing the appreciation from the audiences, and repeat… to exhaustion.
My wise therapist said to me, “I want you to experiment with doing nothing.” I couldn’t believe what he was saying. I’ve got to do more to get the life I’m desiring, don’t I?
He said, “What does it mean if you do nothing?”
I blurted out, “I’d be a loser. Losers do nothing.” (There’s an insight into the unhealthy, judgmental thinking that I’ve been directing toward myself most of my life.)
That’s when I began my quest to do nothing. And I started to experience the most glorious freedom. I could breathe. It didn’t take me long to figure out that the best way for me to live is to stop trying to prove myself to anybody. And to stop feeling like I had something to lose if (for example) my music career didn’t turn me into Michael Bublé.
Now I’m committed to living as if I have nothing to fear and nothing to prove. And it’s rooted in a deep, deep understanding of being so completely loved just as I am.
God is enamored with you and with me. And it has nothing to do with how great we are, how productive we are, or how many answers to life’s difficult questions we’ve figured out. We are loved simply because God made us. With a divine spark in God’s eye, we were birthed out of breath and dirt, and given the task of enjoying life as the beloved.
How does this make you feel? Have you struggled with feeling like you had to have it all figured out? Or that you need to be doing awesome things in order to feel your worth and value? Can you be still… and know?
Henri Nouwen came into my inbox this week with this doozie:
Solitude is listening to the voice that calls you the Beloved. It is being alone with the One who says, “You are my Beloved, I want to be with you. Don’t go running around, don’t start to prove to everybody that you’re beloved. You are already beloved.” That is what God says to us. Solitude is the place where we go in order to hear the truth about ourselves. It asks us to let go of the other ways of proving, which are a lot more satisfying. The voice that calls us the beloved is not the voice that satisfies the senses. That’s what the whole mystical life is about; it is beyond feelings and beyond thoughts.
He adds this prayer:
Speak gently in my silence.
When the loud outer noises of my surroundings
and the loud inner noises of my fears
keep pulling me away from you,
help me to trust that you are still there
even when I am unable to hear you.
Give me ears to listen to your small, soft voice saying:
“Come to me, you who are overburdened, and I will give you rest . . .
for I am gentle and humble of heart.”
Let that loving voice be my guide.
This is one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite artists, Steven Curtis Chapman. It’s Psalm 46:10 set to music. I hope you love it.