Be Still?

Be Still?

By Jacqi Ballough

If you have ever had kids near you, whether on an airplane, in front of you at church, or by you at the movie theater, chances are you have wanted to say, “Please, be still.” Their wiggles can be quite distracting or even create quite the blunder when a stray elbow upsets a drink or pokes someone in the ribcage.

Honestly, I get it. It’s hard to sit still, and I often feel like those squirmy children. In fact, I have the refrigerator magnet “Be still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10”Its perfect cursive lettering stares me in the face every time I visit the refrigerator. The same verse adorns the front of my journal as well.


Being still is a real struggle for me. In fact, if I am still, I am probably asleep or close to it. I want to jump around, be productive, do anything, but be still. It is awkward, a bit confusing, and really uncomfortable. 

I am not sure if it is because I lack maturity, am full of excessive energy, or possibly still hang onto some guilt that I “should be” doing something. (I was thankfully freed from this false belief of aggressive striving a few years ago, so if this is you, here is a news flash: We can’t earn God’s approval with our works. He will still love us the same no matter what we do or do not accomplish. Jesus accomplished all through his sacrifice!)

Now I do enjoy quite time, but for me, quite time is walking outside. Many times, I hear the Lord the clearest when I am in His creation and moving, not being still. 

When I look up Psalm 46:10 in the original Hebrew, the word raphais found for “be still.” A better translation to English would mean “to be weak, to let go, to release or surrender.” Based on this translation, to “be still” is a position of the heart; a humble posture before the Lord noting his sovereignty, omniscience, and omnipresence.

I remember as a teenager questioning whether God was real. My parents had diligently brought me up in the church, but those secular questions gnawed at me. How can you “really” know? One restless night I remember crying out to Him, “Show yourself to me, God, so I can know for sure that you are real.” I then heard deep inside, “You know. You wouldn’t be praying to Me if you didn’t.” I fell peacefully asleep and never questioned Him again. I knew.

I learned to “be still” (surrender) and through that I came “to know” God. I had to become less, and He became everything. I died to myself, my want for control, my selfish ambitions, and conceit, and instead humbly sought Him. Head knowledge of knowing Him is worthless compared to the heart knowledge of “letting go” and by faith trusting the Almighty.  

The “being still” led to the “knowing.” Through the loving sacrifice of His son, Jesus, we know with our whole being He is God, Our Redeemer, Our Creator. The Holy Spirit is then able to communicate within us, and we can truly “know.”  

Simply submit all to this belief in Him.

Be still and know that I am God! 

I will be honored by every nation. 

I will be honored throughout the world.

Psalm 40:10