Being Still and Doing Nothing are Very Different Things

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” Isaiah 30:15

When I read these verses I take a deep breath. Our family has been busy; baseball camp, skateboard school, musical theater, Thanksgiving for 15 here at the house, my wife was recently out of town on retreat, and it is her birthday today. Busy, busy, busy. I am still getting up early and doing my prayers and the New Testament Challenge. But, I am not resting. I am rushing. And I want to cut it out and return and rest in quietness and trust.

Kh. Karen and I also recently hosted the leaders of the YES trip that was here in Phoenix. They had debriefed the kids and were finished for the weekend. They came over so I could hear one of them confess and to hang out and have tea and a little ukulele jam session – my first.It was as great as it sounds: an easy and fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon. One of them wrote me the next day to share that they had been able to find a short hike near their house to spend some time in solitude with the Lord. 15 minutes had turned into 30 minutes and they thanked me for the encouragement to take time be still and pray outside. I was encouraged to make sure I was not letting this discipline slip. And so, I am passing it along to you.

It is the season of shopping and dropping. But it does not have to be. It can be the season of prayer and preparation. Take 15 minutes to pray alone outside. Being still and doing nothing are very different things.* Anyone else up for returning, resting, quietness and trust?

*Pretty sure this saying is from the new Karate Kid movie… still a great quote, no?



Filed under Contemplative Prayer, Solitude

7 responses to “Being Still and Doing Nothing are Very Different Things

  1. I so needed this, Father James. Thank you!

  2. Joan Kirkpatrick

    been doing the 4o day NT challenge, blessed! I love the idea of praying outside, hadn’t thought of that! The snow falling in your blog may be a pipe dream in Phoenix but a reality here! So I may be praying in snow!

  3. s-p

    It is hard to “live in our own heads” and be somewhere without distractions. I think it’s interesting that most of us would say we need silence and stillness but won’t carve out the time for it, but we will do a lot of other “optional” things (like post comments on blogs) without much constraint. It is a “discipline”, for sure. Thanks for the reminder.

  4. Fr. James Coles

    I am a rich man to have the four of you comment on this post. Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. If I could the five of us together we would have a very good time!
    – Fr. James

  5. Tim

    Thanks for this, Father James. I’ve always wondered how to “be still” in God’s presence.

    Also, I refuse to watch the new Karate Kid movie. I am a purist 😉

  6. I have been moving to this myself…thanks for the prompt…

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