When “Still” Feels Like a Threat

When my son was an infant needing calming, I’d cradle him close and gently tap a steady rhythm on his tiny back. Paired with a repeated whispered “shush” it was said to mimic the sounds of the womb and a mother’s heartbeat, lulling my sweet one back to rest.

I can hear the Lord’s “shush” whispered over me today.

There are voices that visit me often and shout “do more.” They come in the margin moments and urge me to fill them up. Infiltrating long sought after silence, they’ll say “what a waste.” They weigh heavy taunting me that bigger is better and small is too insignificant. It’s a nagging that says that rest ought to be deserved, and I haven’t earned it.

I could blame my Type A personality, those ducks that are forever wanting to be in a row. But the truth is, this is a lesson God has been teaching me for some time, and I keep forgetting what I’ve learned. And the enemy knows it; He targets this weakness every. single. time.

When "Still" Feels Like a Threat {www.simplyforone.net} http://wp.me/p2v8DX-Cw

“Still” is not an accusation, but an invitation. (Tweet that)

God spoke those words over me a year ago and this morning, they arrive once more paired with His sweet “shush.” God reminds me to lay down the have to, forget the should do, let the clothes in the dryer tumble one more time, and ignore the comments on my Facebook page.

He invites us in—to rest, to grace, to silence.

He whispers that in His presence there are no expectations.

He promises broad space and urges us to linger there.

We don’t have to ask permission to enter in. There are no prerequisites. Our access to this holy ground isn’t based on the size of our platform or the tally of our reach. No one is marking our accomplishments or measuring our size. The dishes don’t have to be washed, and the beds don’t have to be made. You can even come with a messy bun and fuzzy slippers.

God’s gates are swung wide and etched with His welcome.

If you have nagging threats looming over you today—if empty spaces and unmarked time feel like an indulgence—won’t you lean in and listen for that sacred “shush?” Why not speak your own over the rush and restlessness that is pushing you to run right passed Him. Why not silence those lies and lay down that condemnation.

Can I speak this to you today: It’s okay to rest. Really, it’s okay.

I’m penning these words in my pajamas, and I plan to stay in them. There will likely be cups of tea, squares of dark chocolate, and lingered moments in my favorite corner of the couch. I’ll spend time with my people, and I’ll listen with both ears. Nothing particularly holy about these choices, but they are wholly freeing.

I won’t feel guilty for not filling up the moments, and I won’t drive myself to accomplish more to feel worthy. And when “still” starts to accuse me, I’ll instead cling to His invitation, and friend, I hope you will too. ♥

“Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens,
and I will give you rest.'” Matthew 11:28 NLT

You can also find these words linked up at my favorite spots:  Holly Barrett (#testimonytuesday), Jennifer Dukes Lee (#tellhisstory)Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), and Kristin Hill Taylor (#threewordwednesday).

39 thoughts on “When “Still” Feels Like a Threat

  1. So good, so good. Rest is anathema in our American culture – we feel condemned if we aren’t constantly doing. I also think the stillness leaves space for our truest feelings and beliefs to rise to the surface, and sometimes that’s uncomfortable. So we find some noise, some busyness to fill up the stillness. Great post.

  2. I saw your headline and have had this marked to read. This is so me most weeks! I’m on vacation with 5/7 of my kids this week and I predetermined that THIS will be a week of rest with the people I love. I’ve done a few things in the evenings (reading you now. :) ) but for the most part, it’s felt good to R E S T. Thank you for affirming this permission from our God.

  3. Beautiful, Tiffany. Isn’t it awful how we feel guilty over being still???? Crazy. Totally crazy and messed up is how the world wants us. I’m listening to that “Shush” along with you. This makes me long to lean in to God. :-)

  4. The Father is wanting us to hear this message, as I write about often as well. We indeed have to make ourselves rest and not feel bad about it. Guilt and condemnation are indeed not from the Father. Thank you for a beautiful post.

  5. Friend – did you write these words just for me? Really? How is it possible that miles upon miles exist between us, yet your words speak so deeply to my soul. I am incredibly thankful for you… First, for your friendship, which is precious to me. And, second, for the way you put words to the struggles I have that I often don’t even realize I have until I read a post on your site. God uses you big time in my life! I am so blessed! So grateful! Love You Much!

    1. Love you, sweet Leigh. All glory to God for stitching the words together and delivering them to you when you needed them. I’m blessed He used me to do it. I think us sisters wrestle with a lot of the same stuff and I’m glad we can link arms and work through it together. xoxo

  6. Oh how I needed this post today, friend. This first trimester has me NAPPING…which I rarely do anymore and my mind keeps wanting to scream, “But you have to get this done!” Aaaah, but how we need that sweet rest. It’s worship, really. Love this and your heart. xoxo

  7. I hear ya, friend. Sometimes my to-do list screams at me and that voice in my head says, “You’ve got so much to do.” This rest thing is something I’m learning as well. It’s stepping back and letting rest come with the duty of doing more. One thing I have installed in my phone is that all notifications, buzzes, etc all shut off from 10 pm until 7:30 am. I working on getting off line by then and shutting down my mind, agenda and quiet myself before going to bed. It’s been good for just resting the mind and being okay with doing nothing. thanks for this good reminder!

    1. That’s a great idea, Rachel. I’ve started leaving my phone in the kitchen at night rather than the my bed. That way, I’m not tempted to scroll social media or check email, but just enjoy some quiet. It’s a slow learn, but I’m grateful for the necessary rest. Thanks for sharing with me today. Hugs!

  8. Tiffany, I so identify with those voices “taunting me that bigger is better and small is too insignificant.” I keep trying to remember I don’t have to do more to be more valuable. In God’s eyes, we are enough and we are valuable, right? I love the picture of God whispering a sacred “shush” to quiet our restlessness. Thank you for encouraging me. Blessings and hugs to you!

  9. Tiffany,
    I love these thoughts. I think we need to remove ourselves from the voices, tasks and even some friends who just spin us into circles where we end up feeling frazzled and agitated. I’m learning the art of rest – and I think it’s an art, don’t you? — and am realizing how much more energized I feel when I do! xo

    1. You’re so right, Valerie. There are some relationships that can set us spinning, aren’t there? And I 100% agree – rest is an art and a craft that I’m learning more each day. xoxo

  10. Can completely identify with your post today! From one “row sitting duck tender” to another, I need to see rest as an invitation too! Thanks for reminding me to take a breath and sit at the feet of Jesus!

  11. Tiffany, that Matthew verse is such a great verse…full of so much promise. God truly does give us rest. We just need to remember to come to him so he can grant it. With life’s craziness, it can be so easy to forget that. And yes, so much THIS: “I won’t feel guilty for not filling up the moments, and I won’t drive myself to accomplish more to feel worthy. And when “still” starts to accuse me, I’ll instead cling to His invitation, and friend, I hope you will too. ♥” Blessed to be your neighbor at Three Word Wednesday today.

    1. Love when we get to be neighbors, Tara! Yes, life’s craziness can steal so much of what is precious. So grateful that God keeps us close and always invites us in. Blessings to you, friend.

  12. Yes, stillness and rest have brought so much freedom from my life of late. Have you read Shelly Miller’s work at redepmtionsbeauty.com – she has a group called Sabbath Society, and it’s wonderful.

  13. Beautiful! I need more shush in my life, for sure! Making decisions about the role I will play in service to a ministry I’ve led this last year and stillness keeps coming up. I believe I may just be embarking on a season of rest. Thanks for your encouragement to not feel guilty about it!

  14. There is something altogether glorious when we rest in His grace on these days, Tiffany. It is a sweet space He makes for us to experience and it sometimes takes great faith to experience it. I am so glad you heeded the invitation!! Blessed by your reminder to come and be still.


  15. I love what you said about still being an invitation, not an accusation. It’s so important to allow ourselves times of refreshing, with no agenda other than to be in God’s presence and enjoy his grace.

  16. Love this, especially the last 2 paragraphs spoke to me! I would let guilt ruin gifts like this. But no more…. and thank you for the reminders here, you are so sweet and write beautifully!

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