3 Minutes That Will Change You


Stressed? Scattered? Crazy-Busy and Overwhelmed? Here's 3 minutes that will change all that.

By: Amy Dalke

I originally wrote this post as a guest blogger on www.katiemreid.com, a blog about finding grace in the unraveling of perfectionism. Ever since I wrote this, I’ve wanted to share the words here, because I want so much for you all to experience the power of Being Still. Not that I’ve fully “arrived” at a state of continual calm stillness…but it’s my sincere prayer is that we would learn to lean into the creative power of stillness instead of caving to the cries of hurry.  


 

I used to get all annoyed if someone quoted the “…be still and know that I am God” Bible verse to me.

You probably know the scripture I’m talking about because Christians like to put this verse on mugs, artwork, and greeting cards. Pride sometimes tricks me into thinking I’m too good for such a common Bible verse…so I turn my nose up at those “popular” ones.

(Clearly I’m not very bright, given that John 3:16 is a popular verse, too, and I definitely want in on that one.) Nonetheless, over a two year period, there were countless times that people shared Psalm 46:10 with me:

“Be still, and know that I am God.

 I will be exalted among the nations,

 I will be exalted in the earth!”

The encouragement to “Be still…” was notoriously coupled with suggestions and recommendations that I “breathe”.

{Thanks, y’all, but I’m still alive and kicking. Don’t you see me hustling and hurrying and accomplishing awesomeness all day long? Hello, I’m probably sucking in a lot more air than you are…because I breathe in a frantic rush from sun up to sun down.} My friends evidently didn’t recognize that stress and chaos are requirements of success. And after all, my Busy proves my Success, right?

Two solid years. Two years of cards, pictures, and plaques offering the same instruction:

Be still. Breathe. 

And because God patiently waits out my foolishness for far too long than I deserve, it only took me a whole two years to realize God must be trying to tell me something. I’m the task-loving performer type. A tried-and-true, goal-setting-achiever. I want to do something to prove I’m worth loving, hiring, befriending, choosing, helping.

I lived as though, sure, God saved me and all (thank you, Jesus). So now I should work hard to accomplish his plans for me. (You know…so he’s not disappointed or anything.)

But, grace.

Through the advice and coaching of a good friend of mine, I began to set aside specific times during the day for 3 minute breath breaks. When I started this two years ago, I took one 3 minute break per day; but I’ve worked my way up to 3 times a day now. (Which says more about my need for continual stress management than it says about self-discipline.) (Just saying.)

During these 3 minutes, I don’t solve problems in my head, or allow myself to make grocery lists. I ask God to renew me with his breath of life. I ask God for the grace to be still, in the awareness that He is God, and I’m not. I ask Him to refresh me, recreate in me, restore me, and reenergize me. And that’s all.

It doesn’t seem like much, but let me tell you – it’s the best thing I’ve ever done for my sanity, my attitude, my stress levels, etc. I could go on and on about the benefits of these 3 minutes…but I’ll save that for another time.

Setting this time aside has taught me that any kind of holy change is not something I worked up in myself. I’ve discovered that any kind of work worth doing is accomplished solely under God’s direction, in the creative power of the Holy Spirit.

As the Spirit moved over earth’s surface in Creation, so the Spirit moves and creates new life and good works in us. Our pulse-racing performance pace is a soul-choking effort to earn what we already have, and the rush leaves no space for the holy creativity of God.

The Striving earns nothing but a heaping helping of stress and anxious toil. But the Stillness ushers in the Life-Breath that sustains, empowers, and fills us for every good work into which God invites us.

Before you and I can enjoy a creative partnership with the Master Artist, we first have BE STILL and stop pretending that God is just a side show.

He is GOD. We are SO NOT.

It is HIS work.

HIS plan.

His WHOLE THING.

We miss the work of grace when we’re blinded by our busy efforts. But in the middle of a still heart, we can let go. Stillness is where the pretense of performance gives way to the mercy work of God; and the Creator unleashes his artwork in us.

When we slow our pace and drop our hands, we realize God can run things just fine without us. We gaze under the covers of our to-do list, and discover that all our efforts are empty without the Holy-breath of God.

So we let go, he brings life.

Where we once chased down opportunities, and pried doors open with our bare hands, we now find ourselves rich with invitations to join God’s work, right where we are. Because it’s in Stillness that God moves through us. 

That Be Still verse has grown on me. (Go figure.) I now choose to live in the rhythm of divine breath versus the chaotic beat of high-strung crazy. And though I’m prone to wander into busy, God continually brings me back to my breath.

God invites YOU to exit the mad freeway rush of a breathless world…and join him where the air is full in a holy space of stillness.

What kind of Good are you striving to achieve in your own strength?

What would happen if you were brave enough to be still…?

Have a great week!

Amy