BE STILL AND “KNOW”

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When I was a little girl I had a parakeet named Butch. He was green with a yellow head. I loved that bird. In fact, I love birds of all kinds. Every day I would stick my hand in his cage and hold out my finger. He’d step on it and ride out. I’d move him to my shoulder and he’d hop on and stay there most of the day. When I washed my hands he’d sidestep down my arm and play in the water. When I ate lunch he’d help himself to whatever I was eating. Then, at the end of the day, I took him back to his cage. He stepped on my finger, rode it inside and hopped on his perch. For the rest of the night, he chatted with and kissed the reflection in his mirror.

Fast forward through the years. One morning I heard a horrible commotion behind the glass of my fireplace. It looked like an ash tornado in there. I opened the doors to see a little bird. It must have fallen down the flue. I spoke in my quietest voice and reached inside. That bird went ballistic. It nearly knocked its little brains out flying from side-to-side, up and down trying to escape. I kept saying, “Be still!” Finally, I caught it, took it to the door, and set it free.

Now what is the difference between these birds? Butch knew me. We had a relationship. The little wild bird only knew one thing—his life was out of control, he perceived he was in danger, and he was going to do something about it.

For the past three weeks I’ve been meditating on the a phrase found in the Psalms, “Be still, know I am God. This admonition is given by the God of Jesus Christ. When He said to be still, He is asking us to let go. To surrender. That isn’t always easy is it? Sometimes it is hard to let go of that worry, to let go of all the things that make our souls twist up in knots, and to quiet our minds in this loud world.

God understands this. That is why the emphasis is put on the second word, know. Knowing the heart, the character, the nature of God gives us a calm confidence. A relationship with God is the same as a relationship with a new friend. It takes time  together to know someone. Relationships grow over time. Light is shed on misconceptions, trust is built, understanding deepens.

The unexpected bonus is that as we grow to know God, we begin to know ourselves. We realize we are worthy of love. And then we recognize that value in others. Even those we disagree with. Neat huh?

May your 2013 be blessed beyond what you can think or even imagine. May it be one of a still and confident mind that comes from truly knowing God.

The Kindness of God

Have you ever had one of those moments? One of those object lessons from God? I did. It happened like this.

While en-route to meet friends at my son’s new coffee shop, The Pressroom, in Bentonville, AR, I passed a house where a huge Doberman Pincher lives. Normally he has on one of those collars that keep him in his yard. But today he frolicked in the middle of the road. When he saw me approach he planted his paws and prepared to “stand me down.” By his lifted lip and his stance I knew he growled a warning.

Of course I slowed down. This only served to make him bolder. He charged my car, alternately snapping at the tires and returning to the front barking, warning, and demonstrating his dominance of the road.

Silly dog.

He had no idea that his display of power wasn’t what made me apply my brakes. Rather it was my kindness and patience with his ignorance. He had no way of comprehending that I was the one with the power. I could have continued on my way without slowing down and knocked him off the road resulting in his death, or at the very least, severe injuries.

And that is when it happened. A light went off in my soul. For all the times I take a stance, bark my opinion, feel all powerful, it is the kindness and patience of God that waits until I’m all barked out and ready to listen, ready to be teachable, ready to repent from my error.

Silly Linda