That confession will hold not one iota of surprise for anyone who knows me. I like things to go the way I think they should, and when they don't, I want to fix them so they do. If things aren't right in someone's life, I want to fix the problem, or maybe even the person.
Intellectually, I know I am not in control and it is not my job to fix all that is wrong in my world (or yours). I realize there is freedom in surrendering my control, laying down my fix-it tools, and being still.
Late last year, I was sitting in church and my mind was racing over a situation I wanted to desperately fix (still do). I was flipping through the pages of my Bible and lighted upon Psalm 46:10:
"Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted upon the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."
This was not an unfamiliar verse from the Psalms. I had a name written by this verse, the notation dated 2007. It was name of the person involved in the situation that I was currently fretting over. Nearly nine years ago, I had underlined and noted this verse for this individual. For nine years, I had periodically and temporarily laid down my control and was still. Yet I found myself in the same place again and again. I still find myself there.
Since that Sunday, "Be still" has been rolling around in my heart and my mind over various situations. I try to remind myself to be still when I find myself reverting to my default of controlling and fixing. Some days I am more successful than others. I may always want to control and fix, and being still may always need to be a daily mantra and endeavor.
I didn't make resolutions this year, but have decided to focus on being still. I'm going to make a concerted effort to control my control issues (oh, please see the humor there) by:
- Reminding myself to be still, and wait and watch and pray. Autocorrect myself out of control-and-fix mode.
- Listening longer and well. Chances are I don't know or understand the whole story and can glean insight by listening more. I may never have complete understanding and I need to work to be OK with that.
- Judging less (or at least less quickly). My perceived solutions may not be applicable, wanted, or even remotely viable.
- Encouraging more and acting when appropriate. Being still doesn't mean throwing my hands up and watching situations and people disintegrate. It means waiting, watching, and using the skills and tools I have at the right time and place.
I'm hoping that my focus on being still will spill over into other areas of my life. I hope to read more (even more!) and write more. I hope to spend less time filling in downtime by mindlessly scrolling through my Facebook feed. I hope to continue to spend more time with the people who matter and to cull through my to-do list and commitments and identify the priorities that truly matter.
Here's to a new chapter of being still.