Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God….
Facing the quiet is not about being quiet but facing the quiet moments with God. Those uncomfortable moments where God presses the “pause button” and begins to deal with the realities of His will versus my agenda. It is in these moments that God has changed me.
It has taken years of transition for me to realize that I have to stop pushing away from the very place where He wants to draw me to, to the quiet where I can commune with Him. It is beyond praying for needs or worshipping. It is a time where God shows up and says, “Hey we need to talk. Not about the situations you are trying to control, but the places you have not fully shared with me.”
Recently I had an epiphany that there is a pattern of change God has been taking me through. It came after reading through an old blog post which was never posted, entitled “I decided not to run.” I wrote about my decision to completely stop running and not run 13.5 miles in the Dallas Marathon that year. It meant forfeiting my registration fees and feeling my time spent training was wasted.
It started in 2013 when I was gung-ho about completing my master’s degree in nursing. Through a series of events, I realized it was not the right time. I was about to spend time and money I didn’t have just to fill a void that I thought a degree would fill and prove my worth. I was a single mom at the time and already had over $40,000 in student loan debt from my undergraduate studies. Obtaining a master’s degree was only going to drive me further into debt and take away precious time from my daughter.
When I decided to stop my pursuit of higher education, I began to jog more and compete in races. I love running, but my body does not love me running. I have scoliosis and a congenital hip deformation that cause all kinds of unnecessary stress on my body when I run. I fought it off for years. Dealing with pain, going to the chiropractor, trying all sorts of pain relief remedies, merely learning to manage the symptoms. I thought I was being weak. All I had to do was just push through, then it would all go away.
After two different doctors told me running is essentially doing more harm than good, I had to make a decision. I could either push through the pain and pay dearly for my decision. Or I could decide it was no longer meant for me. That decision in December 2016 to stop running caused me to look internally. I went through a mourning process because there were so many goals I wanted to accomplish and races I wanted to run in. In this process I realized once again, I was placing too much of my identity in running. I had to ask myself, What exactly am I trying to prove in running? Is it for me to somehow make myself feel better about who I am? To outrun the shame I felt for past decisions? To silence the voices from my childhood of being made fun of for being fat?
The scenes look different for everyone. For some it maybe going after the dream job or car. There is nothing wrong with these things. I firmly believe higher education is a worthwhile pursuit. Goals and dreams are very important, necessary and needed in our lives. However, we cannot hope that they will fill the void that only God can fill. He has a way of bringing us in alignment with HIm. Making us aware that He loves us for who we are.
I never wanted to face the quietness. To realize my worth is in Him. There was a breaking deep within. It has taken years and layers of healing to realize all this time He was reaching for me. Not the labels I had given myself or allowed the world to give to me. Not the person I was when I had lost weight at various times in my life and gained the acceptance of others. Or being cheered on in a race. Or seeking higher education. Or being a people pleaser. But me. He loves me just for me.
I am slowly learning not to be afraid of the quiet, raw moments with God. To allow Him to mold and shape me. Remove bitterness, anger, fears, busyness, frustrations. Removing labels I have put on myself that say, “You will never be good enough.” “Your thoughts don’t matter.” He puts in me His identity, His love, even the fruit of the spirit.
After these encounters in the quiet, I removed the pressures I had previously placed on myself to be perfect, to wear a size 6 dress, to have degrees and titles, to run in marathons, to try to be someone I am not. It was in the quiet I learned to take up my cross and follow Him.
“If we have a purpose of our own, it destroys the simplicity and the calm, relaxed pace which should be characteristic of the children of God.” – Oswald Chambers
It’s understood that if you don’t go through the process, you will never appreciate the change. Facing the quiet with God allows you to truly start the process of becoming complete in Him.